Why is Spurs chairman surprising Redknapp again with Charlie Adam bid?
THERE were plenty of surprises in the final hours of transfer deadline day as Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and David Luiz all moved for a combined sum of around �130million.
It proved to be an underwhelming day at Tottenham, but there was a sting in the tail as, having failed to land the top-class striker that they desperately needed, Spurs suddenly switched their attention to... Charlie Adam.
It came as a bolt from the blue and, worryingly, manager Harry Redknapp admits that he was just as shocked as the fans.
“Daniel [Levy] rang me late on and asked if I like Charlie Adam,” Redknapp reports. “I said ‘yes, he’s a fantastic footballer’. He said ‘do you want him?’, and I said ‘can we get him?’.
“We pushed on and tried to do it. Daniel was confident he could get it through. It went to the wire but we missed out by minutes.
“Apparently the boy was definitely up for coming. Apparently the chairman couldn’t get hold of two shareholders who had to sign the forms as well. It’s just one of those things.”
One of those things... Just to clarify, the chairman rang the manager in the final minutes of a month-long transfer window to suggest a player who was not on the wish-list.
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And then, having rapidly resolved to stump up over �10m on this player, the chairman then failed to complete the deal because a) it was far too late, and b) the people who needed to sign the forms weren’t around. They were very probably asleep.
This, of course, followed reported bids for Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan and Giuseppe Rossi in the final 24 hours of the window.
Patience may be a virtue, and the transfers of Torres, Suarez, Luiz and Carroll prove that there is a lot to be said for showing your hand late in the day.
However, it is also possible to leave it too late, as Levy has shown time and time again.
Tottenham have become synonymous with the ‘Deadline Day’ frenzy, and yesterday’s frantic search for a forward was very reminiscent of August 31, 2008, as Spurs rushed to replace both Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane.
Tottenham announced the signing of Roman Pavlyuchenko at 9am on deadline day and completed their move for Vedran Corluka an hour later.
However, with one forward berth still to fill, Levy bid for Andrey Arshavin in the early afternoon, reportedly enquired about Wigan’s Emile Heskey at 9pm and then made a last-ditch move for Ajax’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at 11pm – only for time to run out. Again.
Since then, the Lilywhites have completed final-day moves for the likes of Robbie Keane, Niko Kranjcar and Rafael van der Vaart.
Ah yes, Van der Vaart – probably the greatest rabbit that Levy has plucked from the hat. This was another panicked 11th-hour deal – so late, in fact, that it was ratified almost 24 hours after the window had officially closed.
Spurs, of course, had only learned of the Dutchman’s availability two hours before the 6pm cut-off. Who can forget the tale?
As Redknapp recalls: “My phone went at 4pm on deadline day and the chairman said, ‘I’ve got a gift for you.’ I thought it was going to be a new club car.
“He told me he had got me Van der Vaart on loan. Then it soon became apparent we could sign him permanently for �8m.
“I had mentioned his name on a list of players but I can’t pretend I was banging on the chairman’s door saying we needed him desperately.”
In hindsight, given his similar story surrounding the farcical bid for Adam last night, Redknapp’s verdict on Van der Vaart’s shosck arrival takes on a whole new dimension.
There have to be big question marks over Tottenham’s hierarchy, and particularly the relationship between chairman and manager when it comes to identifying and recruiting players.
To add to the confusion, while Redknapp always maintains that “the chairman deals with all of that”, it was he who approached Everton at the weekend to bid for Phil Neville.
“I spoke to Harry on Saturday afternoon. He made the bid,” said Toffees boss David Moyes. “We had a bit of banter about horses and things.
“There has been a lot of people saying things, but Saturday at 4pm was the first time we had an offer.
“We have had an offer of �250,000, which we received on Saturday. Then it was upped to �500,000 on Monday morning. I think that is insulting.”
Firstly, Moyes is right. And secondly, given this evidence, Tottenham’s recruitment process appears even more convoluted.
Of course, Redknapp cannot sign a player without Levy’s permission, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the usual division in roles – where the manager picks the players and the chairman makes contact and does the deals – has become blurred.
Every now and then there are signs that the pair are pulling in different directions.
Redknapp wanted Joe Cole. Levy waited and waited, lost him to Liverpool and then produced Van der Vaart instead.
Redknapp wanted Steven Pienaar, who was available at a cut-price �3m, but Levy only matched that valuation when the South Africa international opened talks with Chelsea.
Redknapp was also very keen to sign Neville, but was only allowed to offer �0.5m for the Everton skipper.
And yet, just a few hours later, Levy superseded Liverpool’s �10m bid for Adam, who Redknapp had never identified as a target.
These are curious inconsistencies on an inexplicably shambolic day at Tottenham. In fact, it is probably just as well that everyone was looking somewhere else.