Tottenham Hotspur embarked upon a failed late mission to sign the marquee striker that they craved, one characterised by club record-breaking eight-figure bids but they also found themselves under fire from Everton for their "disrespectful" attempt to snatch Phil Neville on the cheap.
The north London club were determined to add firepower even before they allowed one of their strikers, Robbie Keane, to join West Ham United on loan. They focused the majority of their efforts on Spain's La Liga, with moves for Atletico Madrid's Diego Forlan and Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi, among others, while closer to home, they were blown out of the water by Liverpool's swoop for Newcastle United's Andy Carroll.
When the 11pm deadline arrived, the manager Harry Redknapp mixed denials with defiance. It felt as though Tottenham had lost ground on their
big-spending rivals for a top-four finish and he did acknowledge that
Chelsea had made a "real statement" with their captures of Fernando Torres and David Luiz. But Redknapp tried not to wallow, despite his squad being shorter than the one with which he had entered January.
He will include Jonathan Woodgate, Steven Pienaar and Bongani Khumalo on the list that he resubmits to the Premier League but missing will be Keane, David Bentley, Jamie O'Hara, Kyle Naughton and Giovani dos Santos, who have all been loaned out until the end of the season, the latter to Racing Santander, a deal that was announced just before the deadline.
"There was nothing ever going to happen [with a new striker]," Redknapp
said. "It was a difficult one today. We had one or two targets but the
prices got silly."
Tottenham offered €15m to Atlético for Forlán, only to be rebuffed, in the wake of being linked with an eye-watering £38m move for Sergio Agüero, who has agreed a new contact at the Spanish club. Tottenham had also made moves to sign Sevilla's Luís Fabiano and Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente, failing with a £25m bid for the latter.
On they went to Rossi, who was rated by Villarreal at £30m, which felt like a polite way of saying he was not for sale. Tottenham were reported to have explored the possibility of part-funding a move for him by selling Peter Crouch to Newcastle but Redknapp hotly denied that.
Carroll was the striker that he really wanted. He fitted the profile that Tottenham look for in new recruits, being young, gifted and British yet Liverpool beat them to the punch. It was the same story with another of
their targets, the Ajax striker Luis Suárez.
"I had a good laugh watching the interview from Newcastle … how hard they had fought to keep him," Redknapp said. "I thought, 'My God.' Every time these clubs sell a player, they have to want the player to put in a transfer request to make it look like they didn't want to sell him. I'm sure Newcastle are quite happy with the business they have."
Tottenham failed in a late bid for the Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam
while the Neville plot-line carried another sting. The Everton chairman Bill
Kenwright had already made it clear that he had not welcomed Tottenham's interest in the captain, for whom they had enquired about on 5 January. But they nonetheless pushed ahead with an offer of £500,000, which was to be paid in two instalments. David Moyes, the Everton manager, felt that the bid was one of the most insulting he had received in his career.
"We have had an offer from Tottenham of £250,000, which we received on
Saturday afternoon," he said. "Then it was upped to £500,000 on Monday
morning. That is insulting. It was £250,000 now and £250,000 paid in a
"There is no reaction to that. An offer like that for Everton's captain is a
disrespectful offer to the club and it is a disrespectful offer for a player
of Phil's qualities. It is as surprising an offer as I have known in my
career. I spoke to Harry on Saturday afternoon. He made the bid."
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