Sunday, March 15, 2009

Harry Redknapp Sends Three Young Spurs Out to Loan in the Championship

Harry Redknapp has sent three of his youngest players out to loan, in a move that is as much about gaining experience as it is about gaining the manager's confidence.

Adel Taarabt, Giovani Dos Santos, and Chris Gunther have all dropped down a division for the rest of the season, going to Q.P.R., Ipswich Town, and Nottingham Forest, respectively...

All three have found themselves on the periphery at White Hart Lane this season and have seen first team chances come at a premium.

Under normal circumstances the young players might have found themselves being slowly integrated into the first team set-up but with Spurs struggling this term Harry Redknapp and his predecessor have found that experience is key to Tottenham's survival.

Dos Santos and Gunther both arrived within the last year for large fees but have found themselves surplus to requirements on more than one occasion.

Much was expected from the duo, who had come in with huge reputations and it would be fair to say that they have not lived up to them.

When Spurs pried Giovani Dos Santos from Barcelona's hands for £4m in the summer, it looked like an inspirational purchase.

The young Mexican had excelled towards the end of the season in a Los Cules side that had all but given up the chase on Real Madrid.

However, circumstance made the move a difficult one. Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov were both sold and all of a sudden, Spurs had lost their focal point up front.

Dos Santos came into a team without direction and the young star struggled to make an impact. Injury further curbed his assimilation, and by January's end he had found himself way down the pecking order and Spurs needing points immediately.

The ex-Barca youth is normally employed as a wide striker, and with Redknapp adopting a 4-4-2 formation their was little room to blood the youngster to the English game. A move to Jim Magilton's Ipswich Town will be a welcome move for the young star as the Tractor Boys strive to make the playoffs.

The move has started well as he made his debut yesterday away to high-flying Reading and helped his new team to an outstanding 1-0 win.

The loan move to the City Ground will also be a career-defining one for Chris Gunther; the young Welsh international has seen himself slide down the pecking order for right full at Spurs.

Initially signed from Cardiff for £3m as backup to Pascal Chimbonda, he was immediately demoted when Spurs signed Alan Hutton from Rangers and then Vedran Corluka from Manchester City following the Scot's injury. He has even seen Didier Zokora employed as right full, as Redknapp opted for experience over youth.

On snapping up the youngster from Spurs, Billy Davies spoke about the move.

"I'm delighted to bring in Chris because he can play full back on both sides. He is competitive, he's played at this level, and is proven at this level."

Unfortunately for Gunther, he went straight into a Forest team that are in real trouble and they were hammered 5-0 by Burnley in his debut.

The move for Adel Taarabt will be a welcome one. The 19-year-old signed from Lens in 2007 and was hailed as one for the future.

An attacking midfielder with phenomenal skill, he has found it hard to remain tactically disciplined and this move is one that Redknapp was keen to push through.

Clubs from all over Europe, as well as other Championship rivals, all came in with loan bids for the youngster, but both he and Harry decided that a move to Loftus Road would be best.

Under Portuguese legend Paulo Sousa, Q.P.R. are one of the flair teams in the Championship and the fact that the young Moroccan will stay in London was another of the deciding factors.

Since taking over at Spurs, Harry Redknapp has been keen to involve Taarabt with the first team as much as possible.

On taking over Redknapp found the youngster on the scrapheap without a squad number after Juande Ramos told him he did not want him at the club and sent him to train with the youth team.

The fact that the youngster has unlimited potential is plain for all to see and Harry Redknapp has pushed this move personally as he wants the midfielder to gain as much first team action as possible.

He told the QPR website: "Other Championship clubs came in for me as well, but QPR are a team that plays football in a way I like to play.

"Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told me they are not really in a position to give young players like me an opportunity right now and QPR were keen on me.

"Harry told me to come here and show what I can do. As soon as he told me about the move I was interested."

The Moroccan international, who made his debut for the national side last month in a friendly against the Czech Republic, knows the Championship will offer him a stiff physical test, but he is confident he can rise to the challenge.

"The physical side of the game isn't really my style, but I know this is something I will have to learn to cope with," he explained.

"I have come here to learn, and I know that the physical side is something I will need to handle. It will be good for my experience and for my development."

"I consider myself to be an attacking midfielder. I can score, I can give assists, I can dribble and I can cross."
"I hope here at QPR, I will score and do well for the team. I can't wait to play."

Adel made his debut yesterday for the playoff chasing team, coming as on a late substitute in the 0-0 draw away to struggling Southampton.

The loan moves for the players are welcome ones. All three are players who given time could develop into future stars. And the move to the physically tough Championship will come as a steep learning curve for the "light" Giovani and Taarabt.

Given time, the moves should be good for both players and the club alike.

twitter / WillieGannon