Last week we looked at 5 of the worst overseas signings that Spurs have made so it’s only fair to redress the balance and look at some of the finest imports ever to wear a Lillywhite shirt.
5. David Ginola
When David arrived at Spurs he had the reputation of a skillful player capable of great football, but who was also guilty of being a bit of a show pony.
To an extent, he departed three years later with that reputation still intact, but in the meantime he had left behind some unforgettable memories. Yes he went on some mazy runs, but the end product was good as well, both with crossing and with goals, some of which are among the best you’ll ever see at the Lane – Hoddle and Waddle included.
Many say we had the best of the Ginola years – certainly Aston Villa, his next club didn’t get them – and many of us could happy watch a David DVD compilation all day long (as long as it didn’t involve any of his acting exploits).
4. Luka Modric
While it may be unfair to include a current player in this list, Luka is quite clearly different class and, providing we can hang on to him, he could well be remembered as one of the club’s greatest players.
Played out of position under Ramos, he looked lost and lightweight, but is one of several players to have blossomed under Redknapp.
He truly fits into that world class bracket for his sheer vision and accuracy of passing. If only he’d score more goals…
3. Erik Throstvedt
This could be the one that causes most debate. For a time Spurs were settled in goal and while Pat Jennings dominated most of the 1970’s, Ray Clemence eventually came in and proved a safe custodian for part of the 1980s.
Then it all went horribly wrong. Tony Parks was starting to prove a one save wonder, while Bobby Mimms came and will be remembered for some comedy moments.
Enter Erik. Although he’d been in the game some time, he hadn’t a great deal of first team experience and an embarrassing fumble in front of live cameras on his debut, wasn’t the best of starts.
In time however, he brought calmness back between the posts and Erik the Viking, became a fans’ favourite. Towards the end of his time with Spurs he alternated with Ian Walker for a while, before retirirng in 1996 due to persistent back problems.
Once a Spur always a Spur, Erik has cropped on our screens this season to talk favourably about our Champions League exploits.
2. Jurgen Klinsmann
The term ‘world class’ is overused these days to the extent where it means almost nothing. When Jurgen arrived after the 1994 World Cup, the season that followed underlined the true meaning of the term.
As spearhead of Ossie’s ‘famous five’ he teamed up with Teddy to form a formidable partnership and when our bizarre 4-1-5 formation was transformed into something with a more sane look about it, he continued to bang in the goals.
Memorable performances included the comeback against Liverpool in the FA Cup and of course ‘the dive’ after his debut goal at Sheffield Wednesday when the season promised so much.
He just kept on scoring, but for many he spoiled all his efforts by heading back to Germany after just one season. Our then-Chairman was particularly irate and claimed that he wouldn’t have got someone else to wash his car with Jurgen’s shirt.
He returned in 1997/98 and helped steer us clear from possible relegation and left us with four goals at Wimbledon to remember him by.
1. Ossie Ardiles
It’s impossible to convey now just how much of a shock it was when Spurs pulled off the double transfer of Ricardo Villa and Ossie Ardiles. Nowadays, foreign imports are all over the leagues, but back then there was nobody and few fans were even aware that English clubs were allowed to sign overseas players.
Ossie was something special. With great vision and balletic feet he was truly one of the best and slotted in just perfectly alongside Hoddle in midfield. He didn’t score many, but tended to get important ones when it mattered, most notable away at Old Trafford in a cup game in 1979.
He was a true legend and even a disappointing managerial stint couldn’t detract from the high regard he is held at the Lane. He is top of this list alphabetically, and many would say he’s there on merit too.
So what do you think? Do you agree with this or should Berbatov and Villa been in there? What about VDV – is it too soon to make a judgement on him, or does he deserve his place in the overseas elite?