Have Spurs ended up with the poor relation yet again?

Football FanCast columnist ‘The New Voice of Football' wonders if Spurs have ended up with the poor relation yet again.

Having already seen one half of a double act arrive at Tottenham in 2000, with it costing Spurs the princely sum of £11million to find out. That Sergei Rebrov, who had formed one of the deadliest strike partnerships in Europe alongside Andrei Shevchenko for both Dynamo Kiev and the Ukraine, was a little lost out in the big wide world of the Premier League all on his own. 

Rebrov promised so much on his arrival at White Hart Lane, but delivered so very little. 139 goals in 284 games while at Kiev with Shevchenko, whose, impressive haul of 94 goals in 166 games earned the senior partner of the duo a move to Italian giants AC Milan for a fee of £25million in 1999. Shevchenko going on to become the Rossoneri's second all-time goal scorer and Rebrov managing just 10 goals in 60 Premiership games, with just 1 in 31 in his last season in North London. 

So last summer after seeing Spurs so actively try and land the senior partner of the next potent Eastern European strike force in Russian's Andrei Arshavin, and fail in their summer long pursuit of the playmaker. I couldn't help feeling just the slightest touch of déjà vu as Tottenham turned their attention towards Roman Pavlyuchenko. 

The similarities with Rebrov and Shevchenko were there, even though Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko didn't play for the same club. They were the strike force that helped put paid to England's qualifying hopes for EURO 2008 and a potent one at that, with the pair using last summer's tournament as a gateway to Western Europe with good effect.  

When Tottenham finally signed Pavlyuchenko from Spartak Moscow on transfer deadline day, with all the twists and turns that I guess were more associated with trying to extract something from the old Iron Curtain. I couldn't help but wonder if not going the extra mile to land Arshavin would come back to haunt Spurs? 

Then in the winter transfer window, with Arshavin arriving at Arsenal in a transfer that had more twists and turns than most could keep abreast with. Myself, and Tottenham were going to find out if their failure to push the boat out for the baby-faced schemer would haunt them for years to come in the cruellest possible way. 

Now Roman has already scored more goals for Tottenham than Rebrov managed in his first season, with the Russian managing to find the net 14 times in 32 games, but only 5 in the Premiership in 24 matches. Not a disaster, but at £14million anyone could be forgiven for wanting a little more from the Russian. 

It's not so much the goal tally that makes me think that Pavlyuchenko could become Tottenham's new Rebrov, but more his demeanour and lack of appetite since his arrival. The striker's previous coaches in Russia happily queuing up to tell people that their latest export needed the ‘odd slap' to get him motivated once he had left the old Soviet Block. 

In Harry Redknapp Spurs have a manager now that might just oblige Roman on that front to get him up for it. However, events on Tuesday night should provide all the motivation needed for Pavlyuchenko to prove that he is not the poor relation like Rebrov, but the quality player he has shown brief glimpses of this term. 

Arshavin's incredible four goals at Anfield against Liverpool last night saw the Gunners playmaker overhaul his compatriot in league goals scored, with his haul making it 6 in 8 Premiership games for Arsene Wenger's side. Like his national team mate it is not about the goal tallies though. For while Arshavin has achieved this from a non-central striking role since arriving at the Emirates he has also shown a huge appetite to get involved in games, something Pavlyuchenko could well learn from. 

It is early days though, with the former Zenit St Petersburg player yet to go on and emulate the success of Shevchenko at Milan, while Pavlyuchenko still has some distance to cover to gain Rebrov status at Spurs. 

Pavlyuchenko has said he wants to stay and fight for his place at Tottenham, which is a far cry from not wanting to join Spurs originally. For when first hearing, of the their interest the striker dismissed the club for not being in the Champions League. Eight-months down the line and how things have changed, with rumours rife that Roman will be part of the Redknapp clearout in the summer.  

If the striker does truly want to stay, then now is the time to prove that he is not Arshavin's poor relation and try and find his form in the Carling Cup in the remaining fixtures of the Premiership. For if Pavlyuchenko can do that it might go a long way to quashing any Rebrov comparisons and sees Spurs in Europe again as a positive side effect, should he be given the opportunity.  

Article title: Have Spurs ended up with the poor relation yet again?

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