Friedel can give Tottenham one more season of quality performances

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Tottenham

1st Team Goalkeepers: Brad Friedel (41), Carlo Cudicini (38), Heurelho Gomes (31), David Button (23)

Tottenham’s pursuit of Hugo Lloris was about the only major goalkeeping transfer saga of the summer. In the end it came to nowt as Spurs found out Jean Michel Aulus is a stubborn negotiator and Andre Villas-Boas refused to budge on the transfer fee. The fee considered to be too rich for Villas-Boas’s tastes was €20 million. For some, it was spend the money now and you have a top quality goalkeeper sorted for the next 10 years. For others, little could be read into his Lyon form and there were lingering doubts about his ability to flourish in the Premier League. The truth was probably somewhere in the middle. There would have been a few blips as there always are, but the size of such a prize tag always makes them seem more calamitous than the really are.

Based on the evidence of last season, he’s not needed. For one more season at least. Brad Friedel’s performances last terms showed he was still a very capable top flight performer and barring a bizarrely sudden dip in form, he will be able to achieve similar standards this time around. Keeping the chequebook on ice until next summer may not be the worst of ideas. Lloris will no doubt be linked with a move again and his fee is unlikely to have increased too dramatically, regardless of the season he has.

With Friedel into his 40s, injury concerns always feature prominently. That’s not to paint a picture of the American being a frail old man, but naturally enough, time makes the knocks harder to shake off. It’s a concern, but the usually reliable supersub, Carlo Cudicini is also showing signs of wear and tear. He’s not the solid back up he once was.

That brings Heurehlo Gomes into the equation – a prospect that will probably terrify Spurs fans. In fairness to the Brazilian, his ability has been plain to see, but it’s constantly undermined by errors of concentration that lead to mistakes. Concentration is one of the hardest things to work, especially when you’re not getting regular football. If Cudicini or Gomes are needed for a few games, Spurs should be fine, but Friedel is the first choice and he’s badly needed.

David Button has been at the club since 2008, but hasn’t started a game. He’s had 13 loan spells in that period and he probably expect to add to that figure in the upcoming season as he builds up his experience.

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Premier League 2011/12 GK Preview: Tottenham

Tottenham

Brad Friedel

1st Team Squad Goalkeepers: Brad Friedel, Carlo Cudicini, Heurehlo Gomes, Ben Alnwick

Overview: Snapping up Brad Friedel on a free was hailed as a bit of a coup for Tottenham. With time catching up on the American, he’s clearly not the long-term solution, but any signing that limits the possibility of Heurehlo Gomes seeing much in the way of playing time is something that will sit well with Spurs fans. Friedel has been an excellent addition to the Premier League and he still has something to give, but last season I felt for the first time he was beginning to look his age. The razor-sharp reflexes are still there, his hands are still trustworthy and his unrelenting bravery remains constant, but at times I felt his legs lacked the power we’re used to seeing. He looked sluggish coming off his line and at times a little rigid. He’s obviously not in the prime of youth, but he’s still a better option than the Brazilian for this season at least.

Carlo Cudicini is an interesting and at times frustrating case. His talent is undoubted, but when Petr Cech arrived at Chelsea, he seemed a little too comfortable with playing second fiddle. He spent arguably the prime of his career warming the bench at Stamford Bridge, but far from being the leash of life admirers of goalkeeping hoped it would be, his time at White Hart Lane has featured almost as many splinters. Even with Tottenham occasionally struggling to find a top class keeper, the Italian was rarely in the frame to claim the position as his own and with his 38th birthday looming, it’s again looking unlikely that he will be Harry’s first choice.

Many people would have assumed that the end of season would have brought the curtain down on Gomes’s Tottenham career, but as the off-season rolls on, talk of a move away is virtually non-existent. Harry has made the career of many a player by giving them a second or third chance, but the thought of Gomes returning for more than the odd cup game must strike Tottenham fans with utter terror. At his best, Gomes is a pleasure to watch. He’s graceful and agile and capable of reaching seemingly unstoppable shots. Sadly however, we’ve never had too long to wait before the mistakes come and the most frustrating part of the errors is the wide variety. At times it’s a bad decision to come for a cross, at others its woeful handling and then from time to time it’s a mix-up with his defenders. It’s hard to coach them out of his game, because they seem to mistakes stemming from a lack of concentration or an inability to focus. We’ve seen him times to know he can catch a ball cleanly, so when he lets one squirm through his fingers, it has to be related to whatever is going on in that head of his. Ben Alnwich is likely to go out on loan in an attempt to see more first team action somewhere.

Worst case scenario: Tottenham have the depth to ensure that at any given time, they have the option to drop an under-performing keeper for another one of decent quality. The problem may be that despite this, none of the goalkeepers perform especially well and end up costing the team valuable points in their hunt for another go at Champions League football.

What will probably happen: Friedel will perform well with Cudicini as his able deputy and Gomes will be sold before the transfer window closes.