Pavlyuchenko shows Spurs what they'll be missing

IT'S often said that you don t know what you've got until it's gone. Spurs fans may be saying the same about Roman Pavlyuchenko next week. 'I don t think that goal will change anything,' said the Russian after scoring against Leeds...

By Ben Pearce

IT'S often said that you don't know what you've got until it's gone. Spurs fans may be saying the same about Roman Pavlyuchenko next week.

"I don't think that goal will change anything," said the Russian after scoring against Leeds. "I hope it doesn't stop me leaving Tottenham."

A groin problem may be more of an issue for the wantaway Russian international in the final week of the transfer window, but the question is certainly when, not if, he quits N17.


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Unfortunately, it was hard to ignore his impact on Saturday as he came off the bench and instantly unlocked Leeds' resilient reardguard.

It took just four minutes for the 28-year-old to find the net, showing imagination, poise and an eye for goal as he dummied Wilson Palacios' pass, ran onto Jermain Defoe's through ball and slotted into the far corner.

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It all happened in the blink of an eye and suddenly one remembered that this was the man who scored the first Spurs goal under Harry Redknapp, sending Tottenham to their crucial first win of the 2008/09 campaign against Bolton.

This was the man who scored winning goals against Liverpool, Blackburn and West Ham last season.

This was the man who scored in every Carling Cup tie en route to the final, including the dramatic extra-time goal that sent Spurs through to Wembley at Turf Moor.

In fact this time last season, in the very week when Spurs re-signed Robbie Keane, Pavlyuchenko (pictured) had 12 goals to his name.

Interestingly, that is the same tally as Peter Crouch over the same period in the current campaign, and it is two more than Keane has now.

Few have questioned Crouch's contribution, and yet the general belief in the Premier League is that Pavlyuchenko has been yet another 'one of those Tottenham signings', and a waste of �13.8million.

That hefty fee is now the only thing blocking the Russian's move away from N17, as chairman Daniel Levy waits for an acceptable offer to cut his losses.

And yet, even as he hangs hopefully around the exit door, one cannot help imagining what the Russian might have conjured in the stalemate against Hull, when Keane was so wasteful.

Judging by the sounds from the terraces, Spurs are dumping the wrong striker, and many Lilywhites supporters seem to prefer Pavlyuchenko to Keane.

It certainly seems unfair that the Russian has not started a league game all season, while an out-of-form Keane continues to be rotated in.

The reason is simple, as Redknapp repeated after the draw with Leeds: "He's got terrific ability - good skill, a good finisher. You have to put a shift in, and I'm not just talking about Pavlyuchenko," said the boss.

"You can't have two strikers who won't work back for you, who won't run the channels and track back when they lose the ball."

Laziness is certainly not an accusation that can be levelled at Keane.

But, as Leeds goalkeeper Casper Ankergren said of Jermaine Beckford on Saturday: "Sometimes people say he doesn't work too hard but what do you want? Do you want the goals or do you want a striker who works hard? I prefer the goals."

Spurs fans might well agree. And, with Birmingham weighing up a bid for 'Super, Super Pav', they may get the chance to compare and reflect on Redknapp's preference very soon.

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