Don’t say this to Harry’s face, but the “Wheeler and Dealer” springs yet another surprise, much to the delight of the Spurs faithful. On deadline day, despite Redknapp’s claims to the contrary, he ended up completing a magnificent piece of business. Or did he? Given the system often used by Redknapp and the plethora of midfielders (especially Central Midfielders) already at his disposal, was the signing of Rafael Van der Vaart really necessary?
Let’s look at the facts- Prior to Van der Vaart’s arrival, Spurs had TEN senior midfielders in their squad. Those in bold type play centrally- Lennon, Bentley, Dos Santos, Bale, Jenas, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric, Kranjcar and O’Hara. Added to this tally, there is young Danny Rose and Sandro, taking the amount of midfielders at White Hart Lane to twelve. Now, Van der Vaart makes thirteen. How can all of these midfielders possibly fit into Redknapp’s plans? True, with the Champions League in addition to regular Cup games on the club’s calendar this season, there are more games to play and being able to rotate players will surely come in handy as the season gets weary. But is it possible that given the twelve midfielders already on Spurs’ books that perhaps Van der Vaart wasn’t needed? How is this thirteenth midfielder going to fit into the squad?
There have been suggestions floating around that perhaps Redknapp may have to change his trademark 4-4-2 into a revolutionary 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1. While that seems likely, there is a problem. There are four strikers on Spurs’ books and since only one can start in either system, morale issues are a certainty to develop or get worse for that matter, looking at Robbie Keane for example. He has seen his playing time diminished over the last year or so. As a result, his future has been up in the air and even though the transfer window has slammed shut, no respite from constant speculation seems forthcoming. You’d also recall that Roman Pavlyuchenko wasn’t always a “happy camper” either.
Morale issues among midfielders should be expected as well. The likes of Jermain Jenas, Niko Kranjcar and Jamie O’Hara aren’t exactly regular starters and one can’t expect that situation to get better given Van der Vaart’s signing. Even Danny Rose and new recruit, Sandro, can find themselves out in the cold.
Surely then, the 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-4-1 systems are by no means complete solutions. Any way you look at it, Harry Redknapp’s deadline day signing will give him a huge headache. Whether it’s a good one or bad, we’ll see as the season rolls on.