For a club that won’t be in the Champions League next season, which may struggle to keep its best players and currently is unsure over who will be the manager when the 2012/2013 season kicks off in August, Tottenham have been linked with an impressive calibre of player. Some of Europe’s best young talent is rumoured to be coming to White Hart Lane this summer, which after the end to the season Spurs had would give the club a massive lift.
In a three-part series, we look at these transfer target categories: ‘Likely’, ‘Possible’ and ‘Get The F*** Away From Us’. We start with possible Tottenham transfers below – you can find the other two articles here: ‘Tottenham Closing In On Vertonghen‘ and ‘Tottenham Shouldn’t Sign These Players‘.
Possible Tottenham Transfers
Adebayor is a transfer target because as of now he is a Manchester City player, being paid close to £200,000 a week for a side he’s not played for in two seasons. His wages seemingly make a transfer impossible but Adebayor has spoken of a desire to stay at Spurs and the noises from Spurs are that they’re going to try to sign Adebayor on a contract that satisfies the Togolese striker and doesn’t bankrupt Tottenham in the process.
This is good news for Spurs because strikers are essential. Dimitar Berbatov has never really been satisfactorily replaced, with a batch of good but not amazing strikers often being the weakest part of a talented side. The likes of Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko had their moments but lacked consistency, Robbie Keane lost his pace and most of his potency while Jermain Defoe has a great goalscoring record but when he doesn’t score is a peripheral figure in games who doesn’t contribute nearly enough to the team effort.
Adebayor is the closest Spurs have come to having a striker befitting the top class midfield Spurs have had. Though last season his poor finishing and propensity for his second touch always being a tackle frustrated fans he held the ball up well, bullied defenders at times and 18 goals for the season is a fair tally. A transfer seems unlikely as his current wages are more than double what Spurs will offer, but there appears to be a desire on both sides for some sort of deal to happen.
Spurs need strikers. Though Adebayor had a good season last year he was often left on his own up front and lacked support. He was also not really pushed for his place in the side which meant that he never got a rest and there were times throughout the seasons when he looked jaded. If he doesn’t sign and with Louis Saha released Spurs are left with only Jermain Defoe on their books as a forward with any sort of experience.
Reinforcements are necessary. And in Loic Remy Spurs will sign a pacy, talented forward who is comfortable playing as a striker or as an attacking wide player in the 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation that’s becoming increasingly popular. Barring a radical change of formation expect Spurs to keep the 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 with Rafael Van der Vaart behind the striker which would men Remy playing as a classic centre forward.
Remy is 25 and has only played 150 games at club level which isn’t a lot really for a 25 year old in the modern game. He only started playing regularly in the 1st team as a 21 year old playing for Nice. But another striker who was a late developer playing in the French leagues was Didier Drogba. And he wasn’t bad signing was he?
Remy’s playing style has been compared to Thierry Henry. He lacks the sheer pace and height Henry has, but there is something similar about the pair the way they run at defenders and attack the opposition with pace and power. Like Henry he’s played both out wide and as a centre forward.
If he has any weaknesses, it is that perhaps his goal tally doesn’t reflect his talent. One goal in just over every two games is pretty good but perhaps not enough for someone of his capabilities. He also can drift in and out of games. But his potential is immense, his goalscoring record is still pretty good and he looks the perfect player to thrive on the service Bale, Lennon, Modric (if he stays) and Van der Vaart can provide him. At about £10m he’d be an excellent signing.
This is a player Spurs have had their eye on for a while now. For the last couple of years Spurs have been rumoured to be very interested in him.
This would be down to three things. His age – he’s only 22 and still playing in South America, older than many South American players make the move to Europe. Secondly the fact he plays for Internacional. Spurs and Internacional have some sort of affiliation where it’s believed though not confirmed Spurs pay money to have the first option on Internacional players should they wish to move. Sandro moved from Internacional to Spurs and he has been a resounding success. Thirdly, he’s a striker. Spurs need strikers.
Leandro’s goalscoring record is excellent. He has 68 goals in 111 games for Internacional, with 56 of those goals coming in the last 78 games. He is evidently a good finisher with those sort of statistics. Watching footage of him play, he doesn’t have extraordinary pace or strength. He’s not a Drogba type blessed with phenomenal strength or an Henry type blessed with dazzling athleticism. He’s a poacher, a Gary Lineker type centre forward.
His movement is excellent and his composure in front of goal very impressive. Watching him play I note the lack of goals from outside the area and the large amount of tap-ins he scores. That’s not a criticism – great anticipation is the reason why some strikers score a seemingly endless number of tap-ins and goals from close in. And he is skilful with an excellent turn of the shoulder which confounds defenders and goalkeepers.
If Spurs can get him they’ll be lucky. Juventus are rumoured to be interested, and if the choice is between the Serie A winners or the 4th best side in England not playing Champions League football then there’s only one side he’s signing for. And it ain’t the one in North London. But if Spurs can sign him for around £15m, what a player they could potentially have on their hands.
Spurs do need an young, upcoming goalkeeper. Last season you had Brad Friedel starting in goal when he was 40 years old. His deputy Carlo Cudicini was 38. To have your first two choice goalkeepers have an average age of 39 is something seldom seen in professional football.
Friedel despite his age was excellent last season, thoroughly consistent and giving defenders reassurance with his solidity in contrast to the nervousness given off by Heurelho Gomes’s bonkers combination of blinding saves and shocking errors. But now aged 41 he can’t go on forever. You have to expect at some point in the next season or two the reflexes will start to go, the concentration will lose its intensity and a change of goalkeeper will be necessary.
Is Foster good enough? I have my doubts. At Man United he seemed unnerved by the massive pressures of playing for the club and the large, thin shadow of Edwin van der Sar who however well Foster played was always going to return to the side, which may occur again if Foster were to sign for Spurs. He made errors and never gave off the confidence a top goalkeepers does. His only success for United was saving two penalties in the 2009 Carling Cup final shoot-out. Against Tottenham.
Away from United Foster’s done quite well for Watford, Birmingham and West Brom. He’s shown himself to be an excellent shot-stopper and a good if not world class goalkeeper. But he is still prone to the odd mistake and his distribution consists of constantly whacking it down the field, though that may be down to having Alex McLeish and Roy Hodgson as his managers.
What perhaps counts against Foster is the fact he’s English. He would probably cost between £5m and £10m, quite a lot for a goalkeeper. Last summer Swansea bought Michel Vorm, a demonstrably better goalkeeper for only £1m from Utrecht. The likes of Vorm, Tim Krul, Simon Mignolet, Adam Bogdan and others have shown how you can buy very good young goalkeepers for very little money. Foster is merely a good goalkeeper who costs quite a lot of money. That would make me doubt you’ll see him at Spurs next season.
In a three-part series, we look at these transfer target categories: ‘Likely’, ‘Possible’ and ‘Get The F*** Away From Us’. You’ve read about Tottenham’s striker shortage and potential targets above – now read the other two: ‘Tottenham Closing In On Vertonghen‘ and ‘Tottenham Shouldn’t Sign These Players‘.