Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Redknapp Signs Defoe for Tottenham and Chases Appiah, Finnan, Given, and Downing

Harry Redknapp made his first signing as Tottenham manager today by bringing Jermain Defoe back to White Hart Lane from Portsmouth for a fee of around £15M.

Spurs won't have to meet Portsmouth's asking price as Pompey still owe Tottenham £10m resulting from them signing Sean Davis, Pedro Mendes, Younes Kaboul, and Defoe from the White Hart Lane outfit.

Financially the deal is a good fit for both clubs. Spurs gain a player of international standard as they continue their fight on three cup fronts and their relegation battle, while Portsmouth have had a large debt wiped clear while adding £5m to their threadbare coffers...

Redknapp had met Portsmouth chairman Peter Storrie for a business lunch last week, where the Defoe deal was discussed for the first time, and although both clubs denied a deal had been made it would seem that Defoe going sick from training on Monday forced the deal through.

In an ironic twist, Spurs may have also tried to sign Sylvian Distin, Nico Krancjar, and Peter Crouch in a move that was similar to Redknapp raiding White Hart Lane a couple of seasons ago as at the time Portsmouth were battling against relegation.

Redknapp also confimed that Spurs are in negotiations with Stephen Appiah about the ex-Ghana captain joining Spurs. The Spurs boss tried to sign Appiah two seasons ago but Juventus were holding out for £14m, so Redknapp signed his Ghanaian teammate Sulley Muntari instead.

However, Appiah is now available as a free transfer after being released by Fenerbahce in August after a long-term knee injury. The ex-Juve, Brescia, and Parma player has been negotiating a release fee with the Turkish side since, and Redknapp now feels he could add some much needed steel to the Spurs midfield, as he feels the worst of his injuries are behind him.

Another player who appears to be making his way to North London in one way or another is Steve Finnan. The ex-Liverpool player moved to Espanyol for £2m in the summer but he has failed to settle in Barcelona and he has instructed his agent to find a team in the Premiership as the Catalan side are willing to let him go for £1.5m.

Enter Tottenham and Arsenal as his main suitors. Both clubs are in need of cover at the back and have earmarked Finnan as a short term stop-gap.

Spurs need cover at right full as Vedran Corluka, the club's best defender this season, has spent much of his time out of position as he covers for the injury prone Alan Hutton. Arsenal are in a similar state to Spurs, when Sagna missed a few games recently, Wenger chose to move Kolo Toure to right full as he didn't trust Emmanuel Eboue for the task.

Tottenham and Arsenal are also believed to be vying with Manchester City and Juventus for Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given's signature. The Newcastle keeper recently stated his intention to leave for pastures new, and City seem to be in pole position.

Neither Spurs nor Arsenal are in great need of a 'keeper, but once a player of Given's class becomes available he could be too good to turn down. And the news that City have sounded out Juve about Gianluigi Buffon's availability, "The Old Lady" have—on the recommendation of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni—earmarked Given as a potential replacement should City agree to meet the extravagant transfer fee of around £50m.

With the Defoe signing, Harry has added some much needed firepower to his faltering attack. Roman Pavlyuchenko is tired after playing competitive football for around two years without a break, and Darren Bent is suffering from another crisis in confidence.

Manchester United have been asked to take Fraizer Campbell back by Redknapp and he has also made it known to other Premiership clubs that Darren Bent is available at a knock down price as Redknapp looks to restructure his front line.

In recent weeks Spurs had also been linked with Craig Bellamy but it would appear that that deal is now dead in the water as Harry has signed his main target. Dodged a bullet there then.

Redknapp is also on the look out for a left-sided player with Stewart Downing as his main target. Middlesbrough have rebuffed Spurs every transfer window for the past four years but it now appears that Spurs may get their man but they will have to wait for the summer as Steve Gibson made it clear that no senior players would be allowed to leave the club while they fight relegation.

Yuri Zhirkov was also a potential target but his reputation has grown exponentially since Euro 2008, and now he is a target for every major team in Europe, so Spurs have no chance of signing the Russian even with a teammate at White Hart Lane.

The transfer window has opened and Spurs have been quick to add to their squad with Defoe. One thing is for sure, he won't be the last player to join Tottenham before the start of February, and should Spurs beat Burnley and get to the Carling Cup final against United, it would open the door for possible European football next season, it could be a good month for Harry...

twitter / WillieGannon