Anyone who has caught even a small amount of Tottenham’s games so far this season would have to agree on one thing; summer midfield signing Scott Parker has been one of the buys of the season and, in short, a revelation. Of course this should not be a huge surprise to fans of Parker, who saw him feature as the shining light in West Ham’s doomed season – much like Joe Cole did the previous time they succumbed to relegation – Parker played with heart, passion and immense quality.
It was not a shock when the player left the Hammers to stay in the Premier League – the level he is certainly in the upper echelons of. Nor, on the surface was it a surprise to see Harry ‘I’m not a wheeler dealer’ Redknapp swoop in and snap him up. Parker seems like exactly the type of player Harry would go for, and was a perfect fit for Spurs in the summer, filling a gap in the centre of the park which is no longer there.
However, if you take a closer look, the purchase of Parker represents a switch from Spurs’ usual transfer policy – in Parker, a player the wrong side of 30, there is little, if any sell on value. Previously, Spurs have been reluctant to buy players of such nature. On some level this is understandable, with the club realistic about its financial situation in comparison to money boys like Chelsea and Manchester City, realising that if an offer they could not afford to turn down for a player came in, they would have to take it – Berba springs to mind here.
Yet Spurs want to join the big boys and really become a top four team – not one that just drops in and out of the Champions League places. To do this they have to start thinking beyond selling players should the opportunity arise, or even when they feel the player no longer fits and start living in the here and now. Rightly or wrongly, Spurs and Daniel Levy sent out a message when they refused to sell Modric, and are trying to send the message that they are not just a feeder team for the big boys. Many may feel the Modric saga has the potential to turn into a Fabregas-esque situation, but for now the player remains at Spurs – playing well and looking like his mind is returning to the right place.
Not selling big name players is one thing, but passing over quality players with no sell on value is quite another, and much more foolhardy. Redknapp himself admitted that the Parker move very nearly did not come to pass due to the age of the player and the fact Spurs could not financially profit from the midfielder – yet how many points will Parker gain them over the course of a season? They may well profit far more than they initially realised – just because a player may not have a re-sale value does not mean they should be discarded as a potential signing.
Redknapp calls Parker the ‘hardest signing of the summer’ due to the decision to break from usual transfer policy, one suspects that other Premier League managers will have been wishing their signings were just as torturous given the dividends from the capture of Parker.
If Spurs had deviated from their clearly flawed policy of refusing to buy players with no sell on value before the capture of Parker, the amount of quality players they could have signed even for a couple of years may have brought more to the club than they could have realised. Even this summer, Drogba could have been tempted away from Chelsea, and especially with Redknapp’s way with players, the prolific Ivorian could well have ended up at the Lane. However, Spurs refused to go there as the player would offer no re-sale value – the value offered in terms of performance and goals however may well have negated this.
This situation has repeated itself multiple times in the past for Spurs, and when you look at the value Harry places on signing experienced players who can help guide young players the transfer policy seems somewhat juxtaposed with Levy’s ‘buy young, develop, sell for more’ ideology. One thing is for certain, Spurs fans will be glad Harry won out on this one with the performances Parker has produced so far – who knows if he keeps going in this form, he may have a sell on value after all! On a final serious note, the capture of Parker should have really highlighted for the north Londoners that when it comes to buying players, many more factors than purely a re-sale value must be considered –what they can offer the club in the here and now is a pretty crucial one, and Parker is showing just how flawed their previous transfer policy really was.