I wish we’d never tried to sign Steven Pienaar now because, like just about everything, the fact that we didn’t end up getting him is used as another stick to beat us with – or more specifically to beat Carlo Ancelotti with. Once the press get their teeth into a Chelsea manager, there’s generally no let-up til they’ve seen him off and obviously our recent bad form has given them an appetite.
Was it just the press though or were they given a helping hand with this one? Well, let’s have a look at what might have had an influence on events shall we?
On Monday, Harry Redknapp – for reasons known only to himself – took it upon himself to speculate publically about Carlo Ancelotti’s future at Chelsea. Why any Premier League manager would either want, or feel it’s professional, to do that might be a question to ask but anyway, once it had become public we wanted to sign the same player he did, Redknapp told the press “It’s all very strange to me how they have suddenly offered £3million for him. The manager of Chelsea, who’s a lovely guy and honest as the day is long, comes on television and denies they made an offer for Pienaar – so I don’t know who has made the offer. I’ve got my own ideas about the whole situation but I couldn’t say. I think I do know what’s happening but if I said I would be in big trouble.”
I’m not entirely sure Redknapp’s veiled suggestions are what Steven Pienaar would have needed to hear at the time but within a day according to ‘a source close to the player’, Pienaar was hearing something much more reassuring from Redknapp. The source says “When Steven met Ancelotti he said very little and did not seem that bothered if he signed or not. Harry was totally the opposite. He 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.”
Hardly surprising the bloke wasn’t convinced once he’d read and heard all that eh? Or, as suggested elsewhere, was it the extra £11,000-a-week Spurs offered, what really tipped the balance?