28 July, 2006

Tottenham Hotspur: Michael Carrick leaves

What has otherwise been a fairly satisfactory off-season for Tottenham Hotspur turned sour today as the protracted move of midfielder Michael Carrick to Man United has been finalised.

Man U's original £10 million bid for Carrick during the World Cup was resisted by Tottenham. But, it became clear after England were knocked out that the deal was going to be done. Carrick, Donutball's player of the season, rejected a new contract and the club were not willing to break the salary structure to accommodate him.

The silver lining, or more like it brass lining, is that Spurs got the transfer fee up to £18 million, a profit of over £15 million. That's the second highest fee paid by a Premier League over the summer after Chelsea's outrageously stupid lump for Andrei Sevchenko.

Cash in the bank for Tottenham is welcome and could be used to further strengthen the squad, but Carrick leaves a big whole in the centre of midfield. I doubt any of the existing midfield corps - God, I didn't realise Edgar Davids was still there - can fill his boots. Time is running out in the transfer window to find a suitable replacement.

On the positive side, Spurs have signed a couple of quality players over the summer. Didier Zokora, Ivorian midfielder, adds class and unpredictability. Up front, Dimitar Berbatov replaces the ever popular Mido and keeps up the competition for the two striking positions. Man U have also been linked with England castoff Jermain Defoe.

In other news, the Guardian also reports that Spurs arexaminingng moving to the London Olympic Stadium in 2013. White Hart Lane, with a capacity of only 35,000, is inadequate and there is almost no prospect of further improving the ground which sits off the crowded Tottenham High Road. Public transport links to White Hart Lane are, to be polite, crap and unlikely to get better. Moving to Straford, the site of the Olympic stadium, would break a 130 association with North London and almost certainly be resisted by die-hard supporters. The stadium is likely to retain a running track, another demerit. This one needs watching.

Donutball may, or may not, be posting a Premier League preview in August. But, we'll probably be watching the cricket, cycling around South London or working on a never ending supply of MLB Debut posts.


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