Saturday, 26 May 2012

Between the Sticks

So, in an ideal world, for me anway, we've got Cabaye (depending on a certain Croatians desire to leave) and Hoilett. For me, early business is a must this summer. If we leave it late, again, we will end up priced out of moves for the players we really want, and end up with uninspiring alternatives. Nelsen anyone?

The next area of the team/squad I want to consider is between the sticks; our goalkeeping situation. Despite Harry's recent comments regarding Heurelho Gomes possibly having a future at the Club, I don't see that as a possibility.

He's taken a lot of abuse from a lot of people, including the majority of the media and our own fans. In truth, a lot of it is deserved. He's made a lot of high profile errors and has cost us points at crucial times. It could be that he's just not made for such a high profile league and struggled with the pressure and constant persecution after every game.

He seems destined for a move back to PSV in Holland where was seen as a hero. This could be another apparent flaw in Harry's world famous 'man management'. An 'arm around the shoulder' could have worked wonders with Gomes. Maybe it came, and had no effect, or maybe Harry pulled another Darren Bent and the Brazilians confidence is shattered beyond repair, in England at least.

With Gomes on his way out, that leaves two; first choice Brad Friedel and his able deputy Carlo Cudicini. With a combined age of 79, they can't go on forever. Take nothing away from Friedel though, he's been a great signing and provided our ever changing defence with a sense of confidence in the man behind them, which is invaluable. He kept 14 clean sheets, our highest since 1986/87. He's had some criticism for staying on his line, but when he has the likes of Kaboul, King and Dawson in front of him who can blame him, you would expect our centre backs to be able to deal with any aerial threat. It certainly makes a difference knowing it's their responsibility, and in Kaboul's case, he doesn't have to worry about Gomes coming for every ball, including the ones he will never reach, and risk being knocked out by the Brazilians obscure style. Remember Stoke away a few seasons ago?

So will this be the window that we go looking for a new, young goalkeeper to take up the mantle of our number one?

There's already been media speculation, with a few names mentioned. Tim Krul, Ben Foster and Michel Vorm are just some of the 'keepers we've already been linked to. Krul is a superb shot stopper and at 6'4" has the potential to be commanding in the air, something our current roster of goalkeepers lack.

Foster has improved a massive amount since leaving Manchester United, seeming to react better when there isn't quite the same amount of pressure. I don't think he's quite at the standard we need. He's close to Friedel and Cudicini; he's solid if unspectacular.

Vorm really got the eye this season. He was relatively unknown outside of Holland before Brendan Rodgers snapped him up for Swansea last summer. He was a mainstay on Match of the Day this season as he continued to impressive for the Welsh side and pulled off one spectacular save after another. He also caught the eye of those football purists, who watched him perform like a veteran midfielder when in possession of the ball. He was used as a third defender when Swansea had the ball, which was the majority of the game, and set the free flowing side on their way, passing out from the back.

It remains to be seen whether he's just had a good season, or if he's the real deal, much like the rest of his team. My personal choice hasn't been spoken about an awful lot, just the odd murmuring. His dad, Peter, was voted the best goalkeeper in the Premier League recently, and his son has bags of potential.

Kasper Schmeichel has become somewhat of a journeyman goalkeeper. He joined his dads old club Manchester City in 2004 and went out to no fewer than six clubs on loan. His former City manager Sven Goran Eriksson brought him to Notts. County in August '09. The Danish stopper only conceded 29 goals in 43 games during his spell with the Magpies and kept an impressive 24 clean sheets.

Financial difficulties saw him agree to leave the club and forgo his wages in a gesture to the club, something well received by everyone involved with County. A year with Leeds United followed and he stood out once again, particularly during the Third round clashes with Arsenal in the FA Cup which saw him named as player of the round after helping Leeds to draw 1-1 at the Emirates before losing the home replay 3-1.

Sven once again called on his services when he took over at Leicester City and again I was shocked to see him, not only become available, but be overlooked by all the Premier League clubs. A minimal fee, believed to be around £1 million, acquired his signature. A out of character red card featured in his first month but he quickly reverted to what he knew best, frustrating opposition forwards.

An impressive 17 clean sheets, in a struggling team, and four penalty saves earned him the clubs player of the season as well as the award from his Leicester team mates.

Eriksson has gone on record as saying that when he was at City he couldn't split Joe Hart and Kasper in terms of their ability. Hart has gone from strength to strength, whereas Kasper has had to drop down the leagues and earn the respect he now commands.

Every time I've seen him I've been impressed. He's big, strong, commanding and incredibly agile for such a powerful man. Given the fee he was signed for, I wouldn't expect Leicester to ask for a ridiculous amount extra and he could be a fine investment. If Friedel is to be first choice again this season, Schmeichel could blend in to the team in the Carling Cup and Europa League fixtures and be kept fit should he be called upon for the Premier League games.

At 25 he still has at least 10 years at the top of his game, and we all know most 'keepers don't hit their peak until they reach their thirties. He will continue to improve and impress, I just hope he's doing it at White Hart Lane.

My girlfriend, in one of our Spurs conversations I force upon her, summed it up perfectly. 'Gomes isn't very good. Friedel's old. And so is Cudicini.'

'Nuff said. Daniel, sign him up.

It is better to fail aiming high than succeeding aiming low. And we at Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory” Bill Nicholson.

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