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Tottenham start to look real deal

gertcha EFM

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THE word all over Tottenham Hotspur’s website yesterday was “delighted”. The club was delighted to announce each of its three deadline-day signings — Jermaine Jenas, Lee Young Pyo and Grzegorz Rasiak — and it is a fair bet that most of the club’s supporters feel the same way.


After seasons of underachievement, Tottenham are being spoken of as a team with the potential to finish in the top five




Of course, the regularity of false dawns over White Hart Lane means that no one in North London will be counting chickens, especially since the usual calculations associated with the club concern the number of players in the treatment-room.


But the strength of the squad should be able to cover most eventualities. It is the largest in the Barclays Premiership, with 34 first-team players, putting Spurs well ahead, for once, of Arsenal and Chelsea, their London rivals, each of whom have 25.


Rasiak, 26, who scored 17 goals for Derby County last season and has 20 caps for Poland, was the last of ten acquisitions, signed just before Wednesday’s deadline for an estimated £2 million, raising the outlay since July 1 to £9.35 million, with £4.4 million recouped from the sale of Frédéric Kanouté to Seville.


“Rasiak is a tall target man, a hard-working, honest player with a good goalscoring record,” Martin Jol, the head coach, said.


Rasiak gives Jol four forwards to pick from — and with Mido facing at least a three-match suspension for being sent off against Chelsea last weekend, the timing is right. The signings of Jenas and Lee increase competition elsewhere.


Only in wide attacking areas will the squad look threadbare until Wayne Routledge recovers from his ankle injury.


Jol regards Aaron Lennon, 18, another summer capture, from Leeds United, as one of the country’s most promising wingers — as he showed in a cameo appearance against Chelsea — but is reluctant to thrust him into regular Premiership action too soon.


And if the midfield balance of central to wide players is imperfect, so is that between attacking and defensive players. Neither Michael Carrick nor Edgar Davids is a natural attacker with the goalscoring instincts of, say, Gustavo Poyet, the club’s former Uruguay midfield player, and Jenas scored only twice last season.


Somewhere, though, within the vast squad, there must be an answer. Keeping everyone happy during the rotation may prove a problem, but at least communication should not be difficult in a squad that is, by present Premiership standards, unusually (and youthfully) British in its make-up.


Only Liverpool can match Tottenham’s representation in the present England squad: Paul Robinson, Carrick, Jenas and Jermain Defoe would normally be joined by a fully fit Ledley King, all of whom, in theory, have their best years ahead of them, as do several former England under-21 players. An injury to Wayne Rooney and one or two others before the 2010 World Cup could leave England’s destiny in Tottenham’s hands.


The players have welcomed this week’s signings, particularly that of Jenas. “It was brilliant news, and he’ll be a great asset,” Defoe said, while Robinson praised Daniel Levy, the chairman. “The chairman sold me the ambition of the club before I signed and it is all coming to fruition very quickly,” he said. “He has put his money where his mouth is.”

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