There were some fantastic signings made during the summer transfer window prior to the 2011-2012 Premier League season. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Gervinho and Juan Mata representing fresh faces in the English top flight, as well as numerous players already in the Premiership switching to new clubs before and during the first month of the new campaign. However, I would argue that no new signing made during that period has made the immediate impact that Scott Parker has at Tottenham.
At the beginning of the 2011-2012 campaign, Spurs found themselves in an odd position. On the cusp of challenging for top four contention but lacking in a couple of areas which would truly push them back into those Champions League qualifying places. Certainly, only a fool would have argued that a team with the likes of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Rafael Van Der Vaart, Aaron Lennon and Brad Friedel at their disposal did not pose a serious threat to the majority of teams in the Premier League, but their 5-1 thrashing to new golden boys Manchester City at the tail-end of August confirmed that manager Harry Redknapp needed to bring new faces to White Hart Lane if they were to find themselves competing for Champions League places once more.
He found a much needed proven goal scorer in the controversial signing of Emmanuel Adebayor. As a former Arsenal man, it seemed that the African attacker may have a tough time settling in at White Hart Lane. A few games in, however, and it seemed that a few goals scored had done enough to see him accepted into the Hotspur fold.
The other major signing of the “post-Man City defeat” period was 2011 FWA Player of the Year Scott Parker. In a past blog, I made no secret of my admiration of the way in which Parker plays his football, and most fans and pundits would concur that it was the efforts of the tough tackling Parker which kept his former club West Ham United battling on in the Premiership last season, months after they had looked dead and buried.
His simple but effective style of playing as a defensive midfielder has recently shored up the England team (as evidenced again by his Man of the Match performance in the victory over Spain) and has had the same effect on a now resurgent Tottenham side. It would not surprise me if Sir Alex Ferguson (amongst others) was now kicking himself that he, like so many other managers, failed to make a move for the 31 year old when he had the opportunity.
Parker is exactly the type of player that manager Harry Redknapp loves to have in his teams; a hard worker who will win the ball in the centre of the park and play clever passes to kick-start attacking moves. As soon as Parker came into the team, the difference was clear for all to see. Providing one of the best examples of a direct link between defence and attack, Parker’s inclusion in the new look Spurs side has allowed the likes of Van der Vaart and Modric to do what they do best; attack.
Luka Modric in particular has benefited from the signing of Scott Parker. Against Liverpool and Arsenal, with Parker sitting back effectively, Modric was able to attack almost at will and it had devastating results. The goal Modric scored against Liverpool was a cracker and most likely the best goal of the month in September.