When people reflect upon William Gallas’s time at Arsenal, it is likely they may conclude he did was a good servant, a great player but one whose fluctuating demeanour often divided opinion at the Emirates. Kolo Touré said he left Arsenal because he could not work with him and his infamous sit-down at Birmingham will always be prevalent in the portrayal.
On that day at St Andrews, numerous conclusions could have been drawn about the Frenchman. It offered only a sly glimpse into the sometimes unreadable thoughts of the defender as he parked himself in his own-half after Birmingham were awarded a late penalty that would de-rail Arsenal’s title hopes.
Perhaps the purist would have been enthused by his desire to succeed and the eccentric nature in which he showed his anguish but Tottenham’s fans will be posing plenty of questions surrounding Harry’s defensive answer.
It is a risk, but if Harry can stave off the Gallas who could disrupt the harmony he will have a great player on his hands. Redknapp has been in the hunt for a new defender for some time – one glace at his 84 France caps and 101 appearances for Arsenal tend to suggest there is nobody better in terms of the experience Tottenham require at the heart of their back four.
Redknapp backed the Spurs’ fans to get behind the deal saying: “It’s all cobblers. What’s he done? It’s not the Yorkshire Ripper I’m signing, is it? He’s a footballer, he plays football.”
He continued: “I met him and he was a great lad, a great guy – I liked him. A very quiet man.”
And if Gallas can emulate the form he showed in spite of being stripped of the captaincy at Arsenal – such admirable professionalism in the face of adversity can only aid Tottenham in both the Premier League and the Champions League this term.
His past is certainly not unblemished but on his day he is a world-class defender and that is ultimately what matters.
Tottenham are getting a left footed centre half who despite the reservations of some, was wanted by Arsene Wenger who offered him a deal to remain at the Emirates and the sceptical assessments of him as a person may soon change sporadically if he can channel his experience in the right manner on the pitch.
It is conceivably one of the most intriguing moves of the summer, whatever his time at Tottenham throws up; William Gallas’ colourful character dictates that he will carefully scrutinised.