Thursday, 20 January 2011

Taking the Pienaar

What's the point of Steven Pienaar?

Or, if that's too philosophical: What's the point in us signing Steven Pienaar?

I've honestly never seen him have a good game for Everton or South Africa. He's a poor man's Jermaine Jenas. And if anyone's that poor, Bob Geldof should have stirred himself by now.

(Actually, I think Jenas is a genuinely useful squad member who gets bafflingly short shrift from the Spurs crowd - a crowd who, even more bafflingly, bestow hero status on Pav).

One of the arguments 'for' is that he can play 'all across the middle'. Which means, at the age of 28, he has made no valid or impressive claim on any particular position. All great and most good midfielders can probably play 'all across the middle'. But they don't. And it's certainly not what they're known for, let alone a chief selling point.

It's like admiring Spinal Tap for their punctuality; it's a compliment that comes laden with negative implications.

Anyway, Kranjcar can play all across the middle, and is a far better player than Pienaar. Plus he's really punctual.

What else? He's fast. We've got 'fast' covered, thanks. I think we're looking for other things to add.

He's cover. We've got cover covered as well, thanks.

There's a theory that he's actually an investment. He's an £8-10 million player who's available for £2.5 because he only has six months on his contract. So we can sell him in 12-18 months time and make six mil or so.

Well, okay, but we're supposed to building a football team, not a portfolio. What next, pork bellies?

Anyway, Harry's emphatically not a wheeler dealer. He made that very clear to that nasty man from Sky, remember? He's a thoroughly modern, tactics obsessed coach - a thoroughly modern, tactics obsessed coach who, when chucking Pav on as a last throw of the dice against Liverpool last season famously told him to 'just fucking run around a bit'. Pro License? You bet. (Plus, it worked).

A more interesting theory is that maybe he can be converted to a right back. That might make some sense. But even there we've got Hutton and Corluka, with Kyle Walker on loan at Villa.

There's also pride being taken in some quarters from the fact that we beat Chelsea to his signature. The theory is that this is another signifier of some shift in the balance of power.

Not if Chelsea weren't that fussed it's not. 'Sources close to Pienaar' have today said that Ancelotti didn't seem very enthused when they met and hardly bothered speaking to him. Probably because he didn't really want to sign him. Maybe the board targeted him because at least he's fresh legs, an international, not 57 and not wildly expensive. But Ancelotti never really thought he'd improve the squad, so couldn't be arsed to woo him.

Harry, on the other hand, again according to the source, 'told Steven he could play him on the left, the right or even in the middle for Spurs and that they were going to go all the way in the Champions League and finish in the top four. He was so enthusiastic and bubbly that Steven knew straight away White Hart Lane was the place for him.'

So, we've signed an idiot.

Did he tell you pixies lay your kit out for you and the club's masseuse is Angelina Jolie? That we'll win away at Newcastle on Saturday?

Jesus, someone's been played for a sucker. Er, hang on...

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