Whilst most England fans would have been relatively pleased with what they saw from England on Friday, supporters of Tottenham Hotspur would have been horrified to see Michael Dawson go down with what looked like a season ending injury. Thankfully, if that is the right word, Dawson will only be out for six to eight weeks rather than most of the season, but it leaves Spurs boss Harry Redknapp with a major headache in central defence and begs questions about his operations in the transfer market this summer.
It has been a seemingly cursed position for Spurs in recent seasons, with Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King suffering terrible injury woes and Michael Dawson now joining them. Woodgate has already missed out on Spurs’ 25-man squad this season and now their have to be doubts about his playing career. Ledley King is a fantastic defender, but everyone is aware of his chronic knee problems which often leave him on the sidelines. It means Spurs have three fully fit centre-backs, Sebastien Bassong, Younes Kaboul and William Gallas, and Redknapp will be fervently hoping they are able to hold the fort until Dawson returns from injury, King will be able to play in some games, but he cannot be relied upon to make frequent appearances. Dawson’s injury will have left Harry Redknapp a very concerned man and he may well be pondering his actions in the transfer window this summer.
Spurs made three senior signings in the window, Sandro, William Gallas, and in a move that has perplexed some Spurs fans, Rafael van der Vaart. No one would question Van der Vaart’s quality but some have questioned whether Spurs really needed an attacking midfielder. I happen to think that for £8 million Van der Vaart is very good value and it is more the players Redknapp hasn’t signed than the one’s he has. In my view, Spurs transfer priorities this summer should have been a striker and one or ideally two centre-backs. Redknapp did sign Gallas, but he may now regret not signing another as Dawson’s injury will leave them with four centre-backs, one of which will not be able to play very often and three that will have to prove themselves over the next few months.
Personally I like Sebastien Bassong, he is big and strong and has a touch of class about him, but for a centre-back he is still relatively young and his game can be marred by inconsistency. Younes Kaboul is again a talented player but he has yet to fully prove himself at this level. William Gallas is a hugely experienced operator who will provide can old head in partnership with Bassong or Kaboul that they both probably need. The former Arsenal captain is however, moving in to the twilight of his career and last year he did not display the best form of his life, and Spurs fans will be nervous about whether he can do a good job for them.
Dawson’s injury does leave question-marks over Harry Redknapp’s transfer policy this summer. Whilst the players he brought in are of good quality, in a season when Spurs will be looking to cement a top-four finish in an increasingly difficult league, it is not certain that Spurs have strengthened enough to achieve this this season. If a top class striker such as Luis Fabiano had been brought in, and another centre-back to just give them depth in this position, you would not bet against Spurs mounting a serious challenge for a top four spot. You still wouldn’t now, but Spurs transfer policy this summer may well have made it just that little more difficult.