Bassong, eh? Well first up, if you’re looking for an in-depth Strengths-Weakness-Opportunities-Threats analysis of the chap, then look elsewhere. We at AANP Towers spent most of last season watching Spurs, rather than Newcastle, which I would suggest is a fairly pardonable offence.Word on the street is that he is quite handy. He comes highly-rated apparently (don’t they all?), and a toon-supporting friend of a friend has had some pleasant things to say about him – closer to Lennon than Corluka in terms of pace; one of the few players to keep his head up until the bitter end in Geordie-land; proved himself equally capable at full-back as at centre-back; generally a ray of sunshine in a world of black-and-white grey. While there is something vaguely ominous about buying a defender from a club that has just been relegated, the consensus is that it seems a reasonable buy.
However, to repeat, my dossier on the blighter is rather bare at the moment, so I’ll turn my attention instead to a few hypotheticals. It’s academic now I suppose, but I do wonder whether we would have gone fishing for Bassong had all three of our centre-backs been fit – that is, was it always ‘Arry’s masterplan to have a juicy selection of four dedicated centre-backs from which to choose this season, in the hallowed name of Squad Depth? Or alternatively, have we just spent £8 mil on an ad hoc defender to see us through the next month or two, until everyone is up and running again?
The last time we splashed out on someone to see us through an injury crisis was in January, when Defoe broke his foot and Keane was bought. Back then £10 mil or so struck me as an awful lot of money for a short-term solution, but the proof of the pudding was in the eating, and in the absence of Defoe in early-2009 the pointy shouty Irishman did his job, and as such justified the outlay. (Thereafter Keane went a little weird, all midfield-running and an allergy to shooting, but by then we were safe from the drop).
Back to Bassong. If he was bought with the season-opener vs Liverpool in mind, it was a rubbish idea, as he is suspended for that and the next game. More pertinently though, might ‘Arry even be viewing him as Ledley’s long-term replacement? Possibly too early to speculate about that.
In the shorter-term, I wonder what the pecking order will be when King, Woodgate and Dawson are all fit. Admittedly, “when King, Woodgate and Dawson are all fit” is possibly an assumption too far, but assuming they are all patched up and good to go at some point, I would guess that Bassong will be first reserve, ahead of Dawson. It’s hard not to like Daws, and after a dodgy 2007-08 he was largely back on form last season, but there are still flaws in his game. For all his willingness he does tend to act first and think later, prone to rushing out of position in gung-ho manner and leaving a Dawson-shaped gap behind him. He will get his opportunities this season, but at 25 he is unlikely to take too kindly to a stop-start season mainly spent warming the bench.
Those are just some idle musings to welcome young Bassong to the White Hart Lane fold . What we have, by all accounts, is a young, pacy centre-back at a fairly reasonable price in the current market. Broadly speaking, it gets the much sought-after nod of approval from AANP Towers, as it is further indicative of a sensible summer spending policy at the Lane, something we haven’t had in years. It’s another signing that bolsters the squad, and will make us a tougher nut for opponents to crack in 09/10.
Spurs Cult Heroes
Opinions still sought on the top 20 Spurs Cult Heroes – players who achieved legendary status amongst us fans for what they did at the club. The majority pick themselves, but still some debate over the final three – Jennings? Teddy? Gilzean? White? Freund? Conn? Lineker? Burkinshaw? Have a read here, and voice your opinion.