Considering that we’re currently trying to flog Robbie Keane to anyone that’s interested, you might have thought that we’d be cautious about re-signing old players in this January window.
Not so. For at Tottenham, our club motto Audere Est Facere might as well translate as ‘Never Learn From Mistakes’. On Saturday we confirmed the signing of Younes Kaboul from Portsmouth and only time will tell if this proves to be another error of judgement.
Kaboul wasn’t a player that many Spurs fans would have wanted to see back at White Hart Lane. He looked clumsy and error-prone during his first spell at the club, prompting me to christen him with the private nickname: ‘Kaboul in a china shop’.
I’ve not watched that much of him at Portsmouth, but if reports are to be believed, it seems as if his form has improved. I think though that our signing of him was more to do with opportunism, than any great desire to bring him back to Tottenham.
With Woodgate possibly sidelined until the end of the season and Ledley always likely to break down, the club was seeking another central defender. There were rumours regarding Palermo’s Simon Kjaer and it looks like when we realised that deal wasn’t going to happen, we decided to pick the bones of cash-strapped Pompey.
It seems that Portsmouth still owed us a large percentage of the Kaboul transfer fee, which is money that we could legitimately wonder if we’d ever see. So setting up a cut price transfer deal made sense, even if we end up flogging Kaboul again in a year’s time.
The thing that most worries me about Kaboul rejoining, is that I distinctly remember him moaning to the press about being dropped, even though he was clearly playing pretty badly. Let’s hope that he’s matured a little and that Michael Dawson doesn’t revisit any personal nightmares regarding his own form, during the period in which he had to partner the fledgling Kaboul.
To be fair to Kaboul, he did suffer a baptism of fire at White Hart Lane. Here he was playing in a new league at a tender age, under a manager in Martin Jol that didn’t really want to sign him in the first place and with the team under huge scrutiny, regarding Jol’s future.
What made things worse is that Tottenham were suffering from a injury crisis in central defence (some things never change) and Kaboul was pretty much the only player who was permanently fit. In his first few weeks at Spurs, Kaboul was partnered by Gardner, Rocha, and Dawson. If he’d been put straight into the team alongside the calming influence of Ledley King, then perhaps things would have turned out differently.
Now that he’s back, where and when will Kaboul play? In the pecking order of centre backs, Dawson and King are the first choice pairing when both fit, whilst Bassong has performed admirably this season. According to Kaboul’s Wikipedia entry, he has experience of playing at right back. I looked this up because I was hoping this would be the case, considering that as I write, the internet is awash with rumours of Naughton going to Middlesbrough and Hutton joining Sunderland.
My verdict is that whilst I don’t expect Kaboul to be the disaster he was when he first joined, he is going to have his work cut out to force his way into the side. Let’s hope that he’s a little more patient these days.