Our thoughts on the Pienaar to Spurs deal


Few people seem totally sure what to think about the signing of Steven Pienaar. It’s not really the statement of intent that signing a proven goalscorer to lead the line would be and as a symbol of the respective status of us and Chelsea, funny though it is, his preference for white over blue in this case probably says more about Abramovich’s waning interest in his toy than any power shift in our direction. It’d be wrong to hang the ‘Spent Force’ sign outside Stamford Bridge just yet in my view.

Most doubts surround the questions of whether & where he’ll play. Assuming that Harry hasn’t bought him just to help keep Khumalo on the straight and narrow after Spurs’ experience with Mbulelo Mabizela, it’s not obvious to see where he’s going to fit in. Extreme theories are being proposed. One is that Lennon is on his way and another is that Bale will be moved to full back. The fact that people are putting forward genuine cases for Pienaar to play both on the right and the left (not simultaneously) give testament to his versatility if nothing else.

This is a versatility that Kranjcar also possesses. His lack of match practice largely explains his sleepwalking performances against Bolton and Charlton but he remains a class act who, with everything remaining equal, will definitely score more goals than Pienaar for one thing. So where does Niko fit in now? Is it possible that Chelsea didn’t flex their financial muscle in this case because they see Kranjcar as a better option? The same’s undoubtedly not true of O’Hara, Jenas or Giovani, players that will be shifted down the pecking order a notch.

Maybe it’s not that complicated. Now that Bentley’s been farmed out, maybe it’s just a case of Redknapp spotting the opportunity of getting some ‘cheap’ better than adequate cover for Lennon into the squad and Pienaar will be left to wait for an opportunity to prove himself?

I wrote an article at the start of last season explaining that I thought that our target should be to finish above Everton given that we were the teams who’d won the ‘non Big Four’ league during each of the previous four campaigns. I listed Everton players who might get into our side and our new signing wasn’t one of them. The strongest responses from Toffees who left comments were from those putting forward Pienaar’s case as a more reliable and potent winger than Lennon. The Spurs man ended up having a blinding first half to the season before getting injured but the fact that Everton fans got worked up enough to make a point in his favour on a Spurs website shows how much they liked him.

He’s a mostly unspectacular speedy international with good technique and Champions League experience who at 28 has seen the chance of probably a last big pay day. Possibly more importantly though in the eyes of Levy and Redknapp, he’s a bargain.



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  1. Niko Kranjcar does NOT have versatility. His best position is on the left of midfield cutting inside. He can just about get away with playing centrally but isn't disciplined enough and while he's right footed is absolutely shocking on the right.

  2. If you were to remove O’Hara, Jenas and Bentley and were left with Pienaar would you be worse off? I don’t think so. Pienaar is a good all rounder who would be my first pick ahead of Kranjcar if VDV, Modric, Bale or Lennon got injured. Together with Townsend, who can operate on either flank, you get great cover for the midfield from 2 players.

    Good business in my opinion.

  3. I am not saying that Chelsea are on the wane just that Spurs are back up in the top 5 not 4 because of Manchester City's rediculous spending power. Harry is hoping to offload a few midfielders and a striker with the intention of a better balanced squad with an additional world class striker. We would probably however only get such a striker in the summer.

  4. This articles always amaze me. He has been bought as a cheap but very useful squad player who provides excellent cover in a number of positions and will put pressure on players to deliver. Some people still don’t understand what we are trying to achieve at Tottenham and the importance of a large squad of quality players. Backup players who are not getting regular games will move relatively quickly so you have to keep adding fresh faces to the squad and Pienaar is exactly that. The reason why Chelsea are slipping is because, although their first eleven is slightly better than ours, their squad isn’t and if they have an injury to the goal keeper or a centre half they struggle. We lose 4 centre halves and still have quality.

    Stop having the ‘little club’ mentality and see the bigger picture. Mr. Levy wants us to be the biggest team in England and challenge every year in Europe. We are the most happening team in the country right now apart from the team that no one can compete with – Man City.

  5. Have to say that steve is correct. he’s much more versatile than Kranjcar and more reliable than JJ’S inconsistency, which has shown back up of late. Also, Palacios’ uninspiring performances this season in midfield and Hudd’s injury mean we are light weight on creativity in midfield, something hopefully pienaar can bring in.

  6. I disagree. I think Pienaar will force his way into the team in a way that Kranjar has been unable to do. he is more talented than you are giving him credit for. He has done well in a struggling team and played well even though he had fallen out with his manager. I'm not sure who will lose their place but I think they will all be looking over their shoulders and working harder to keep their places in the team.

  7. A very good signing – Everton's best player for £3 million. Now that we've signed Pieenar Harry should NOT see this as an excuse to sell both Krancjar and Keane. If we lose Bentley, Keane and Krancjar this window we will be significantly weakened in attack. Especially for Champions League games.

    A top four team is all about having a big squad. Levy do not sell half the attacking players in our squad!


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