In July 1994, Alan Sugar famously took his yacht to Monaco and captured a fearsome German predator. Jurgen Klinsmann sailed into White Hart Lane on the crest of a World Cup wave, having netted five times in that summer's tournament. For Tottenham supporters, his arrival ranked alongside those of Ardiles and Villa in 1978, one that reaffirmed the club's reputation for big name signings. The £2m fee was a bargain for a World Cup winner and proven goalscorer. It also represented a major coup, not least because Spurs had just been rocked by a 12 point deduction and FA Cup ban for financial irregularities.
Klinsmann's impact was immediate. After powerfully heading in a Darren Anderton cross in a 4-3 opening day win at Sheffield Wednesday, the German endeared himself to English supporters with his self-mocking 'dive' celebration, making light of the reputation that had followed him to the Premier League. He marked his home debut with both goals in a 2-1 win over Everton - his first, a stunning overhead kick, was one of the goals of the season. He reached double figures after only seven appearances in all competitions, including a hat-trick in an astonishing 6-3 League Cup win at Watford.
The striker's modesty and affable nature quickly helped him become just as successful off the pitch as on it. Sceptics who doubted his honesty could have no doubt about his qualities, which were showcased in the sheer variety of his goals: great technical ability for that Everton volley; pace and power to outstrip Andy Pearce and find the top corner of the Wednesday net in December; a classic header in April's North London Derby at Highbury; even a free kick that same month at Crystal Palace. It was all underpinned by a tireless workrate, making him a formidable opponent for any centre back.
As the club's lawyers succeeded in overturning the points deduction and cup ban, Klinsmann helped Spurs to the FA Cup semi-finals, scoring a famous late winner against Liverpool in the quarter-final at Anfield. Despite being the popular choice to claim the trophy, Spurs were disappointingly beaten 4-1 by Everton at Elland Road (the photo above is during the game), and the league campaign petered out into a 7th place finish. However, it was a hugely successful first season for Jurgen and an impressive 29 goals in all competitions earned him the 1995 Football Writers' Player of the Year award.
Though Jurgen was contracted to the club for another year, he took an option to cut short his stay following a public falling out with Sugar over money for new signings. To the fans' great disappointment, Klinsmann made a £1.3m move to Bayern Munich in summer 1995.
If those supporters had been left feeling short changed, they only had to wait until December 1997 to see their hero back in a Spurs shirt. With the team struggling near the foot of the table, Klinsmann returned in a £175, 000 deal from Sampdoria, after healing his rift with Sugar. His brief was simple - to help save the club from relegation. Although his speed was not quite so explosive, his finishing was as clinical as ever and a handy nine goals in 15 league games - including four in a 6-2 win at Wimbledon on the penultimate weekend - helped to secure Tottenham's survival. Jurgen signed off his Spurs career with a spectacular strike in a 1-1 home draw with Southampton on 10 May 1998. It was his last club appearance until a short spell in America with Orange County Blue Star in 2003, after which he retired from professional football. Though his two spells in London had been brief, his impact on English football - and in particular the fans of Tottenham Hotspur - was as great as any other he had made during his glittering career. (Alex Voskou)