Harry Redknapp is aiming high.
Don’t say it too loudly but Tottenham are top of the table, don’t shout it from the rooftops or people will start to talk. But seriously the idea of a side breaking the top four monopoly is nothing new but far too often clubs who attempt to scale these dizzy heights choke, Aston Villa last term, or simply do not have the squad to cover the loss of big players, Everton, but perhaps this season Harry Redknapp can lead his team to the promised land?
Look closely at the usual suspects and there is a genuine reason to believe that their stranglehold over the quartet of Champions League spots could show signs of weakening. Man United lost Cristiano Ronaldo and that’s going to have an effect, you can’t lose a player who scores 67 goals in two seasons and it not have an effect, hell they already lost at Burnley! Liverpool have arguably a worst squad this season than last term, having lost the mercurial presence of Xabi Alonso and not adequately replaced him and still look very short of options should Fernando Torres get crocked.
Chelsea have in many ways had to start all over again with another new boss and they too haven’t invested too heavily in what is an ageing side. Arsenal may have started the season with a bang but the loss of Kolo Toure could well become a big blow as the season wears on.
Harry’s renaissance at White Hart Lane last term, 49 points from 30 Premier League games is not far off the top four pace and these four Harry Redknapp aqcusitions may well hold the key to a real good sustained push for a place at the top table.
Wilson Palacios £12m from Wigan Athletic
Whilst it’s true many sides were looking to sign the Honduran from Wigan, it was Harry who made the move and got his man. The 24 year old midfielder is a workaholic who does the donkey work but also has the ability to link up with the attack with a quick creative pass and gives his fellow players a good out ball when needed. The man mountain is arguably Redknapp’s best buy.
Robbie Keane £12m from Liverpool
Simply didn’t click at Anfield and was rescued by the north London club and clearly wants to prove any doubters wrong. He obviously fears Peter Crouch taking his spot and as such will try that bit harder to keep his place in the starting line-up. I envisage him having a terrific season as he looks to repay the faith shown in him by the Tottenham boss.
Sebastien Bassong £8m from Newcastle United
The Newcastle United centre back still performed with distinction even when at the heart of a defence set for relegation. Redknapp could see the club has a lack of depth in the centre of defence and more importantly knows all to well the injury problems that Ledley King, and to a lesser extent, Jonathan Woodgate have. Bassong is one for the future who can already make an impact in the here and now.
Jermain Defoe £15m from Portsmouth
Scores goals wherever he goes. Obviously he felt he had to leave White Hart Lane in January 2008 because he believed he wasn’t getting enough starts at the club but clearly his relationship with his former Pompey boss was strong enough to know that he simply couldn’t pass up the chance of a return to the club.
Obviously it’s early days and whilst some would say that two games is not enough to build up a case for how a club might perform, but it’s worth remembering that this steady improvement dates back to when Harry Redknapp arrived last October. Since then Tottenham have shown what they are capable of, not least against the top four sides they are trying to overhaul. In Harrys’ reign they have beaten Liverpool three times, beaten Chelsea, drawn twice with Arsenal and managed to hold Man United to a stalemate also as well as finding themselves two goals up at Old Trafford, before pressing the self-destruct button.
The past four seasons have seen the same sides fill those much coveted top four spots and what’s to say this quartet might not just crack it?