TRANSFER WINDOW WRAP UP...
The window has now shut on the January transfer dealings of 2008 and our new signings were quickly absorbed into the training schedules.
The window has now shut on the January transfer dealings of 2008 and our new signings were quickly absorbed into the training schedules.No major changes had been envisaged during what is considered by most to be a difficult transfer window, but it had been recognised that certain positions were essential to strengthen and the Club continued to be open to opportunities as and when they arose.
“January is not always the time of year that we prefer to do business,” explained Chairman, Daniel Levy. “But we are very pleased with the outcome.
“It is always our aim to come out of a window period in a stronger position than when we enter it and that is definitely the case this year,” added Daniel.
“We worked hard to strengthen the squad strategically this January and we have bought in great additions. We had key positions we needed to provide options for and everything we do is always with a long-term view.
“When the opportunity is there to sign an England centre-back, a Brazil left-back, Scotland’s right-back and a young Wales international, you take it. In the summer, those opportunities might not be there.”
Chris Gunter was first in at the beginning of the month from Cardiff City and the 18-year-old Welsh international made his creditable debut in the FA Cup replay win at Reading before featuring against Manchester United in the same competition and the Premier League fixture away to Everton.
England international Jonathan Woodgate made his first appearance in a Spurs shirt up at Everton on Wednesday following his transfer from Middlesbrough. His performance in the 0-0 draw was impressive and he has now received a call-up to Fabio Capello’s first England squad for the friendly international against Switzerland next week.
On Wednesday afternoon, Scotland international Alan Hutton completed his move from Rangers and the Spurs January quartet was completed on deadline day with the addition of the Brazilian left-back Gilberto, who is no stranger to White Hart Lane having played in the friendly international against Wales in September 2006.
Commenting on the new signings, Sporting Director, Damien Comolli, said, “Alan Hutton is a player we’ve been following for a long time. He was very, very impressive last season and in the first half of this. As a Frenchman, I know how well he did against France in both matches and he has really impressed in big games. Against Italy in Glasgow he was outstanding and is exactly the type of player Juande wanted and when he arrived he was the first player we discussed. Alan possesses all the ingredients of a top full-back and he fitted the bill of what Juande wanted.
“What we rate about Chris Gunter is his competitiveness and his motivation. He takes no prisoners and is a good defender, very aware and an intelligent player. He has also been very impressive at international level and we are delighted to have him. He has taken no time to adapt and has come into the First Team reckoning almost straight away.
“Jonathan Woodgate doesn’t need any introductions. We all know he is a top class player and has got everything you want from a centre back. He showed a great determination to come here and that was key for us.
“Being awarded 27 caps by Brazil tells its own story and Gilberto took over from Roberto Carlos, which is quite a reference. He is a player we have been following for a couple of years, but it was a question of when he became available. When he did, he said he wanted to come here and we took that opportunity.”
Damien went on to point out the impact of another player who has emerged on the First Team scene.
“There is one player who is not a new signing, but it feels like having one and that player is Jamie O’Hara, who has done so well and again it is a tribute to our Academy and development set-up. He has made a massive impact and he has a great attitude.
“He went on loan to Millwall and had a tough time to begin with. Clive and I had a long discussion with him and the second part of his loan spell was very positive. He came back with a great outlook and after two training sessions Juande was asking ‘who is this kid? I really like him’. That is because of his discipline, his tactical awareness and intelligent play, not to mention the quality of his left foot. He won everyone over and has proved himself to be a reliable First Team player who can operate in two or three positions. It is fantastic for the Club.”
Jermain Defoe departed from the Club at the end of the window, as did Wayne Routledge, following Phil Ifil and Lee Barnard who left earlier in the month.
“Everyone understands the reasons for allowing Jermain to leave. It was not something we were looking to do, but he only had 18 months left on his contract, we had to do it and it is done.
“Wayne had the misfortune of being injured early after joining us and had loan spells at Portsmouth and Fulham, but it is important for him to get regular first team football so his transfer to Aston Villa will hopefully see him playing more.
“Phil Ifil went on loan in the Championship to Southampton and did very well, so we had several clubs interested in him and we felt it was time for him to move on and establish himself at a club and he now joins Colchester United,” continued Damien.
“We are sure he will have a very good career and the same goes for Lee Barnard. He scored on his full debut for Southend United, which is typical of Lee because he is a very good finisher and we wish Jermain, Wayne, Phil and Lee the very best for the future.
Juande Ramos, Head Coach, shares the view of the Sporting Director in that his squad strength has been considerably increased over the course of the winter window.
“I am confident that the signings we have made will improve the squad as a whole and that they will adapt well to the playing system we have in place here, and the proof of this will come on a matchday. We have sought to find solutions to specific areas and we believe we have found them in the players we have brought in.
“Chris Gunter came in at the beginning of the month and although he is very young and still has a lot to learn, so far it looks like he is evolving in an excellent fashion and I believe he can become a very good player with us. I like my full-backs to be able to play on both the right and left side, and he has had to play on the left already out of necessity. He has shown a real willingness to learn and develop his game.
“I have watched Jonathan Woodgate during the time he spent in Spain with Real Madrid. For me, he was an essential addition to our defence and with his wealth of experience he will bring a solid, calming influence to the side, as he demonstrated in his first match for us against Everton.
“Alan Hutton is a very powerful player with great pace who I am hopeful can bring a lot to the team. I have seen him play a number of times and have been really impressed with what I have seen. We made a great effort to bring him to the Club and were delighted when he decided it was the move he wanted to make.
“Gilberto offers something extra to the squad being a left-footed defender. He possesses an excellent technique, he is very strong physically and is an experienced player, while he also has the added the flexibility of being able to play in midfield as well.
“I am comfortable in having three strikers because we have players here who can also operate as a second striker in the likes of Aaron Lennon, Steed Malbranque and Adel Taarabt. Jermain Defoe’s departure also gives an opportunity for some of our younger forwards to impress and stake a claim for a regular place in the First Team squad and, with the quality we have coming through the Development Squad and Academy, that is important. Jamie is an example of how productive that route is.”
Hossam Ghaly, Paul Stalteri , Anthony Gardner and Ben Alnwick headed off on loan to Derby, Fulham, Everton and Leicester City respectively and Andy Barcham’s loan to Orient Leyton has been extended.