A transfer window to define Tottenham in the coming seasons. This summer gone Spurs’ business was as notable for its aggressive cull as it was for the talents that AVB was able to acquire for the club.
The captures of Erik Lamela and Roberto Soldado amongst others largely overshadowed the plethora of talents that were pushed hard towards the White Hart Lane exit door. The loss of Parker and Huddlestone were side notes to an intriguing summer of activity by the Premier League club.
Whilst Parker may well have been entering the twilight of his career, many fans may well have greeted the departure of a shaggy haired Huddlestone with a degree of sadness. Signed from Derby back in 2005, the Englishman has made nearly 150 appearances in a spell which offered so much promise.
Touted by many as the modern day answer to Glenn Hoddle, Huddlestone had a passing range to rival any. A quarter back whose mobility was always under the spotlight, but whose vision and craft made him a dependable asset under previous regimes.
But Spurs have outgrown Huddlestone, and his move to Hull is already proving why the deal was palatable for all parties involved.
His current form shouldn’t really come as a surprise to Spurs fans, few would argue that he wouldn’t flourish within a lesser Premier League outfit. Hull City have and will in the future provide him with the perfect platform to realise his potential once again. Steve Bruce is willing to build his team around the Englishman, with his pace not so integral to proceedings and a slightly more direct approach favoured by Hull. Compare this to a Spurs team looking to play a high tempo pressing game with a short range of passing; you can see the issue here.
Steve Bruce hit the nail on the head in his recent comments in the Guardian:
“He has great players ahead of him – the Gerrards and Lampards and Wilsheres – but he’s a scarily gifted footballer who is only getting better by playing week in, week out. He likes the style we play, he’s settled far quicker than he had a right to, and maybe it suits him being a big fish in a small pond too.”
The style of football that AVB is trying to play at Spurs was never going to be compatible with the immobile yet highly talented Huddlestone. Midfield dynamism is the order now for Spurs, which has seen the more agile Paulinho and Etienne Capoue added to the ranks.
Huddlestone isn’t alone, Caulker shared a similar fate and few would argue that he won’t be in the England reckoning in the coming seasons.
Many will jump on the bandwagon and criticise Spurs if Huddlestone gets an England call up. For me though this would just add weight to the argument that his £5.25m departure was beneficial for all concerned. A highly talented midfielder who just doesn’t fit the Tottenham mould anymore.
If Huddlestone can continue his impressive start to life up North I cannot see far past an England call up in the not too distant future. England’s tempo would in my view suit Huddlestone, and the need for a creative spark has been plain for all too see. Yes granted the old guard of Lampard and Gerrard still appear key to Hodgson’s plans, but the inclusion of a Huddlestone or Barkley shouldn’t be fast discounted.
Some Spurs fans often joked that all they wanted for Christmas was a pair of jet boosted boots to fire the Englishman around the pitch. That dream is not quite as simple minded as it may sound, pace may well have been the only thing to hold his Spurs career back and for this reason fans are right to dwell on what could have been.
A world class option when afforded the time and space that he required, but too often hounded off the ball and left in the wake of faster opposition keen to press.
So no the departure of Huddlestone isn’t such a big loss for Spurs, I imagine the likes of Eriksen, Paulinho and Capoue will ease the blow somewhat. What it does necessitate is a potential rebirth for a player of such undeniable ability and that is why this was and still is the right transfer for all concerned.
Was the departure of Huddlestone a gaffe? Or was it just the best outcome for all the parties concerned?