It is no surprise to see Harry Redknapp spending big again
to bring Peter Crouch to Tottenham, but I am not sure he is the right signing
to take them into the top four.
Crouch is one of the best English strikers, although at the
moment that isn't saying much, and
would be a good buy for most Premier League teams. I have no problem with him in terms of his ability or goalscoring record.
However, in Spurs'
case I wonder if they now have too many players battling for too few spots in
the first team.
It is difficult to see how Redknapp is going to juggle his
resources, with Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Of course, Harry will say that competition for places is
good, but in reality it very rarely works out that way.
Most often, the players who are not in the team start to
grumble and it creates discontent in the dressing room.
Now he has got such an array of strikers, Harry may also
find it difficult to stick with his preferred 4-5-1 formation away from home.
Darren Bent is on his way to Sunderland,
and there is still time for Pavlyuchenko to follow him, but I think that even
with the remaining trio there could be some headaches.
All three players have come off barren spells at clubs where
they were not getting regular first-team football - Keane and Crouch at Liverpool, and Defoe in his first spell at Spurs.
Crouch and Defoe will be especially desperate to play
regularly to get into the England World Cup squad, as both men are on the
Keane is a certainty for Ireland regardless of club matters,
but he loves the acclaim and the pats on the back he gets from the Spurs fans,
and he would not take kindly to being elbowed out of the first-team picture.
The other thing to consider is the fans' expectations. Last season, Harry only had to get
them out of the sticky situation he inherited, which he did with some ease.
But after securing a top-half finish and spending lavishly
on the likes of Keane, Defoe, Wilson Palacios, the fans will expect Spurs to be
competing for trophies and for that elusive top-four finish.
Fans will be looking at how Aston Villa pushed Arsenal last
season, but were found wanting because they lacked squad depth. Tottenham have
that now, but it will take quite a feat of man management from Redknapp to keep
his players happy.
City need time to gel, so
I would say that Aston Villa have the best chance of breaking into the top four
They have had a quiet season and few people are talking about
them, but they have a settled squad with a good mix of youth and experience.
The only thing they need between now and the start of the
season is a centre-back. Last season things went downhill badly after Martin
Laursen's injury, and that is a key position
they need to address.
As for Tottenham - I don't
think they are ready yet. I just hope the fans will show some patience.