When it comes to signing players in football there are numerous ways to go about it; you can focus on youth to build for the future like their North London rivals, you can splash out big money fees for established players like Chelsea and United are known to do, you can wheel and deal like Harry Redknapp was always famous for. Or you can integrate them all; there are always beneficiary results of such a policy. Yet it can prove troublesome too.
Tottenham’s policy of signing the best of English youth sets them in good stead for the future. But a significant amount of transfer budgets have been spent on these youngsters as each £2 – 3 million purchase adds up when bargains could have been signed in their stead. Fair enough they could go on to become a real star but first of all they need to get a chance, and that seems to go against Tottenham’s other signing policy – making sure youngsters don’t need to play by signing more established players.
Harry is constantly linked with a host of players for him to bring to Spurs and there may well be truth in a number of the rumours. But when you’re constantly filling out the squad with players in their mid-twenties then where is the gap for the younger players to step in? Those teams who can’t afford to bring in a whole squad have had to blood youngsters into the first team and it’s already paying dividends for a number of them – just look at Jack Rodwell at Everton or many West Ham players for examples of those. Yet when numbers have been short at White Hart Lane this season we haven’t seen the likes of John Bostock and Kyle Naughton regularly filling in, they’re restricted to cup appearances and coming off the bench until a new replacement can be signed to deny them opportunities.
There is sense in giving young players a chance to ply their trade out on loan before they’re ready for the first team but how will you know if they’re ready for the first team if you’re unwilling to try them out? And by the time they are ready there’ll be more replacements signed who will prevent them from making it into the first team unless they really excel elsewhere. The likes of Aaron Lennon and Tom Huddlestone have always been in or around the first team since being signed (Huddlestone’s loan spell apart) but the other young players are being given much less of a chance.
Any player good enough to make it will make up but players have had to work their way up again after failing to break through at their first club, Jimmy Bullard’s a perfect example of this. Will Spurs give chances to any of the youngsters to show themselves capable of becoming a first team player anytime soon? I very much doubt it, not when there’s new players coming in all the time to help out now, they’ll still be there when the youngsters are ready after all. If Harry can strike a balance between the youth and the new signings then Spurs will prosper tremendously but it’s a hard balance to work out and as things stand it’s the youngsters who are missing out. Even Jermaine Jenas is appearing more often than John Bostock after all, it should perhaps be the other way around.
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