See ya, Niko.
If you believe Niko Kranjcar's agent, the Croatian is very near a deal that will see him move to Sunderland. It will end a two-year stay at Tottenham Hotspur, a stint that saw him play well, end up a favorite of some supporters and generally, put in a good effort every time he stepped onto the pitch. That didn't really matter much though because especially in his second season at White Hart Lane, Kranjcar couldn't get off the bench and now he is on the verge of leaving.
"We are about to close a deal with Sunderland," Kranjcar's agent Adrian Aljai was quoted by the Daily Express. "I believe that is the best solution for Niko."
So Niko is now departing, which means we will never again have to wonder why Harry Redknapp won't play the Croatian. He's not gone yet though so let's wonder once more why Harry would never play Niko.
It's probably because he wasn't versatile enough. He could only play centrally, on the left or on the right. That's not enough. He also had no nose for goal, brilliant winners against Bolton and Sunderland be damned. He had no range of passing if you ignore the many fantastic balls he hit to open up the Spurs attack.
All in all, it's pretty easy to see why Harry refused to play Kranjcar. Okay, he isn't the fastest player and his tackling is, well, questionable, but lack of pace never kept him from making an impact and since when are Spurs prioritizing tackling? It's extremely difficult to understand why Harry wouldn't play Niko and Harry didn't just sit him, he brought in Steven Pienaar to take his place in the squad and ensure that Niko wouldn't even get a look as a substitute.
Meanwhile, all Harry would ever talk about is how Niko was "a top lad." He worked hard in training, never complained and was a tremendous player to have on the team. Apparently not tremendous enough to actually get some match time though.
Off you go, Niko. A quality player who could never get a chance to play. There was likely a very good reason that Harry benched him. Actually there probably isn't so goodbye, Niko. If only we could have seen more of you.