Despondent Tottenham striker, Roman Pavlyuchenko, is being refused the opportunity to join Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow. The Russian club wanted to sign the 28-year-old for a reported £10.5m after positive talks with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.
Pavlyuchenko has been a frustrated person at White Hart Lane for a number of months now. His body language is of someone who looks like he does not want to be at Tottenham. He would have hoped that the recent transfer window would have improved his chances of appearing in the starting line-up at Spurs. This is due to fellow striker Robbie Keane’s loan move to Celtic. However, his spirits may have been dampened by the loan signing of Eidur Gudjohnsen, and along with Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch, his chances of breaking in to the team look even bleaker.
Manager Harry Redknapp realises that letting Pavlyuchenko go would reduce his options up front. This is crucial to how Tottenham are going to end this season. There is a good chance they can progress to the quarter finals of the FA Cup, should they beat Bolton at home in the fifth-round replay, and despite stuttering recently, are still in the race to finish fourth. Even though Crouch and Defoe is Redknapp’s preferred pairing up front, he may need Pavlyuchenko should either suffer a bad injury or experience a dip in form. All teams who enjoy the feeling of winning silverware at the end of any season usually end up doing it with a contribution of their four major strikers. Manchester United’s 1999 treble winning team is a situation where substitute strikers became integral in some matches.
In this situation, Redknapp has clearly put his foot down and made it clear that Pavlyuchenko will not be allowed to leave, until at least the end of the season. Despite the fact that over £10m was agreed with Lokomotiv Moscow, Redknapp is looking more towards the fact that in order for Tottenham to stay competitive from now until May and deal can wait.
The problem with Pavlyuchenko seems to be his work ethic more than anything. Towards the end of January, Redknapp was quite critical of the striker. He said: “I need people who are going to work, I want to see people who are going to work and that’s what I changed when I came to Tottenham.” Referring to Pavlyuchenko’s chances of starting games, Redknapp went on to add “I expect him to run around and work hard for the team. If he does that, he’s got terrific ability, then there’s no reason why he can’t be in the team.”
It is unlikely that the Crouch-Defoe partnership will last the whole season, so Redknapp could give him a chance to see if he has taken on the manager’s words and improved his work ethic. Also, with Crouch not providing many goals, Pavlyuchenko has a chance to add some firepower to the attack. If Redknapp did have a problem with the way he plays or does not meet his physical requirements then he would not even make the bench. The fact that he is still at Tottenham, and seemingly at Redknapp’s desire, means he must have a chance of starting a game sooner rather than later.
Redknapp may begin to see that it is time for a second chance for Pavlyuchenko. With Defoe the only real goal scorer, Crouch inconsistent and limited at what he can do and Gudjohnsen more of a gamble, Redknapp could find that Pavlyuchenko is the answer as the season enters its vital stage for Tottenham.