Monday, February 2, 2009

Robbie Keane Escapes Rafael Benitez and His Liverpool Nightmare To Rejoin Spurs

Robbie Keane's six month sojourn at Liverpool ended in dramatic fashion today as he braved the winter weather and dashed to White Hart Lane for a medical despite the two clubs having failed to reach an agreement.

But the i's were dotted and the t's crossed later as Spurs agreed to cancel their debt with Liverpool, some £10m and pay the Anfield club another £5m depending on appearances.

Effectively making the transfer fee £15m, or a six month loan deal that cost Liverpool £5m, depending on which way you look at the deal...

Keane's time at Liverpool did not go the way of the Dubliner's wanting, and despite giving his all for the club it quickly became apparant that Rafael Benitez did not want the Irishman, as exclusivley revealed in Bleacher Report last week.

His treatment of Keane can be compared to "the death of 1,000 cuts" as the striker was never really given a chance by the Liverpool maestro. During his 34 game career at Anfield, Keane started 23 times but only finished a full match five times. His league career was played 19 scored 5, an average of one goal in four games which is quite good for a player who was never helped by his manager.

The move to Spurs was first mentioned in mid December as Rafa made it clear for the first time that Robbie Keane did not figure in his plans. As Christmas came and went the two clubs danced with each other tentatively before Harry Redknapp set the ball rolling with his comments to Sky Sports on January 26th where he expressed an interest.

From then on it was only a formality that the two clubs should agree a fee, the main sticking point being Keane's wages which were doubled from £45k to £90k when he moved to Anfield. Liverpool are believed to have given in to Spurs demands to pay a portion of Keane's wages. He is understood to have taken a drop in wages to £70k per week with Liverpool picking up £20k.

Keane will be welcomed back to White Hart Lane with open arms by both Harry Redknapp and the Spurs faithful who feel he was never given a chance by Benitez and that he will be keen to show what he is made of.

Many Liverpool fans are understandably unhappy with Keane's forced exit and for the first time during his reign the fans at Liverpool are beginning to question his judgement and man management skills especially as Keane is seen as an innocent victim in Benitez's war with Chief Executive Rick Parry.

However the final consequences of this gamble have yet to be calculated, Benitez may have won this battle by forcing Keane out but he may lose the war if Liverpool do not win the league.

Robbie Keane will join Jermaine Defoe and Pascal Chimbonda who have also rejoined Tottenham from Portsmouth and Sunderland respectivley. All three were key figures under Martin Jol and Juande Ramos was said to be furious at their forced sales.

Harry Redknapp revealed today that Tottenham Chairman Daniel Levy had never wanted the trio to leave but that he felt obligated to let Keane chase his boyhood dream in going to Liverpool and that he needed to back his Director of Football Damien Comolli in Defoe's and Chimbonda's sales.

Damien Comolli was sacked in a night of the long knives along with Juande Ramos and Gustavo Poyet after Spurs worst start to a season since 1912. And within hours Harry Redknapp had been installed as manager.

Redknapp's impact was instant as Spurs claimed 10 pts from 12 and then qualified for the next phase of the UEFA Cup, however that good run came to an end in mid December and Harry moved quickly to bring Defoe back to Spurs for £15m after he had bought him for Portsmouth 12 months previously for £12m.

Defoe had scored three goals in four games and was on course for a starting berth in next months League Cup Final against Manchester United, however a training ground injury where Defoe broke his fifth metatarsal has ruled him out for the rest of the season, so with goals being an urgent need Spurs moved to resign Keane.

How this new signing will effect Defoe has yet to be seen as when the duo were at Spurs the first time they failed to strike a partnership, and Keane's continued involvement with the team forced Defoe to move.

The two strikers will link up with Pascal Chimbonda after he failed to settle in the North East with Sunderland and the Wearside club decided it was best to terminate the Frenchman's contract and let him return to London on a free transfer.

Chimbonda made his second debut in White at the Reebok against Bolton on Saturday and he laid on two goals for Darren Bent in the 3-2 defeat.

Spurs have also signed Wilson Palacios from Wigan, the Honduran is a real throwback to midfielders of old who both attack and defend, and his signing is probably the most crucial of all four as Spurs were in desperate need of strengthening in central midfield.

With the signing of Keane and Palacios, it looks grim for Luka Modric and Tom Huddlestone who have both featured this season. Modric a big money signing from Croatia Zagreb has not settled as well as expected and although he has showed some of his undoubted class, all too often he is bypassed in midfield.

Carlo Cudicini also joined Spurs on a free transfer from Chelsea after Scolari surprisingly accepted to let the Italian move for free.

Tottenham also made a move for Inter Milan's Ricardo Quaresma today but the deal fell through after Jose Mourinho intimated that he wanted Jermaine Jenas or Aaron Lennon plus cash in return, and after Spurs offered cash only the Portuguese was offered to Chelsea instead.

One deal fell through at the final moments as Spurs had accepted a bid from Tony Adam's Portsmouth for Giovani Dos Santos but the transfer hit a snag late on and the bid was cancelled.

So all in all a busy transfer window for Spurs, five new players in even though three of them are familiar faces. The front line and midfield have been strengthened significantly and Chimbonda's signing is seen as a stop gap until Alan Hutton returns from injury.

The all important left sided problem that has dogged Tottenham for four seasons now has still to be addressed but Redknapp has definitely taken a step in the right direction with his new additions. And it will be interesting to see who he pursues in the Summer...should Spurs survive relegation.

twitter / WillieGannon