How will Redknapp manage to fit Keane and Defoe in the same Spurs team?

03 February 2009 12:35
As the January transfer window eased open, the world of football was focused firmly on Manches­ter City, who were expected to blow everyone out of the water with the unlimited funds at their disposal.

Now, as it slams shut, it is Tottenham, not City, who have emerged as the big­gest spenders.

Problem: Defoe was sold to Portsmouth after being kept out of the Spurs side by Berbatov and Keane

 Spurs as The Waste Land, Invisible Man Dennis Wise - and more in our Rooney-inspired guide to books for footballers

What the back pages say: Chelsea Lamps boost, Liverpool take hit on Keane's Spurs return, Arshavin Arsenal drama, Wise set for Newcastle axe

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET

So desperate are Spurs to secure their Premier League future, that they have brought back players who were part of their past.

Harry Redknapp's gift of the gab, and a looming battle against relegation, has persuaded an initially reluctant chair­man Daniel Levy to invest £45million in former players Jermain Defoe, Pascal Chimbonda and Robbie Keane, and in looking back to go forward the Spurs boss has put his faith, and reputation as a saviour, in some old faces to provide the missing link at White Hart Lane.

But in reuniting Defoe and Keane, has Redknapp given himself a problem that his predecessors Martin Jol and Juande Ramos struggled to deal with? Defoe will have an operation on a foot injury today, and is likely to be absent for the next 10 weeks, which is why Spurs were so deter­mined to bring back Keane for £16m.

But when Defoe returns, Redknapp must decide whether the two players can play together. Neither Jol nor Ramos thought they could form an effective partnership, and Defoe joined Portsmouth one year ago because he was being kept out of the first team by Keane and Dimitar Berbatov.

Last summer, Redknapp signed Peter Crouch to play alongside Defoe at Port­smouth, and the 26-year-old is at his best alongside a tall forward who can hold the ball up and bring others into the game. The same is true of Keane, whose pairing with Berbatov yielded 91 goals in two seasons, yet the Irishman strug­gled alongside Fernando Torres, a natu­ral goal scorer like Defoe, at Liverpool.

Tall order: Redknapp must find a way for Keane and Defoe to play together

It is probable, then, that Redknapp has brought back Keane as much for his influence off the pitch as on it. The 28-year-old is a spiky, boisterous presence in the dressing room, and Redknapp has mentioned this season how quiet a squad he has.

Discussing what he expects from Keane, Redknapp said: “Robbie's enthu­siasm and his will to win will rub off on his team-mates. He will bring so much to us.

“He gives everything for the team, and that, allied to his ability, makes him a magnificent signing for the club. Jer­main Defoe will be out for a while, which is why it was so important for us to bring Robbie in.”

Former Spurs boss Gerry Francis believes the return of Keane greatly improves the club's chances of sur­vival, but he is surprised to see three players who were sold last year brought back so quickly.

Francis said: “Keane coming back gives them a great chance of staying up but is strange to see that Spurs have brought back three players who have already been at the club, and it is hard to know what their transfer policy was over the last year or so.

“I expect Keane to play alongside Roman Pavlyuchenko in attack until Defoe is fit again.”

Hospital visit: Defoe and girlfriend Chantelle arrive at a hospital in north London for a scan on his injured metatarsal

But when Defoe returns, Francis points to Keane's experience at Liver­pool as an indication that the Irishman is not best suited to playing alongside striker so similar player to himself.

He added: “Keane and Torres were very similar players, and Keane was always most effective in partnership with a player like Berbatov. You would watch Liverpool, and you would see that Keane and Torres made the same runs. They didn't appear to be able to play together in that system.”

Spurs' attack is now far stronger with both Keane and Defoe on board but it will be interesting to see how they react if they are forced again to share striking duties. This month, Redknapp has tried to rescue Spurs by going back to the future. But has he, in fact, just gone back to square one?

 Spurs as The Waste Land, Invisible Man Dennis Wise - and more in our Rooney-inspired guide to books for footballers

What the back pages say: Chelsea Lamps boost, Liverpool take hit on Keane's Spurs return, Arshavin Arsenal drama, Wise set for Newcastle axe

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR FC NEWS FROM ACROSS THE NET





 

Source: Daily_Mail