In soccer world, its the forwards who score goals and hence are more into the limelight as they are the ones to put the ball into the back of the net. Their ability to kill the game within seconds with their deft execution methods makes them fans’ favourites. People appreciate tackles, moves and plays but goals remain fresh in the memory of supporters for longer periods. Although the primary duty of a forward is to score goals, but now-a-days all-round forwards are the ones in demand who make the difference with their speed, acceleration, vision, creativity, ability to hold the ball and to make off-the-ball movements which will open up the opposition defence. A Prolific scorer in their ranks makes a vast difference to the teams’ fortunes in a season. Manchester clubs have a vast array of mercurial attackers at their disposal; London rivals are also not far behind by possessing few gems who can give sleepless nights to the opposition defenders.
What do Tottenham Hotspurs have in their store? Do they have potent weapons upfront who can convert the chances created by their midfield maestros and wingers? Do they have players to fill in the roles of modern No: 9 and No: 10? We can look at the striking options at the disposal of Andre Villas Boas.
Jermain Defoe is the leading and the only one recognized striker available at White Hart Lane. He is a clinical striker with a poacher’s instincts, never shy to take a shot or two if enough space is there in the visible range. Defoe was one of the first players to appear in AFC Bournemouth’s wall of fame and has always kept himself high benchmarks and goals. An ambitious prodigy with a hunger to achieve further success will not be ready to sit on the bench to wait for his turn and the current Tottenham playing style doesn’t suit him to guarantee regular starting spot also. So rumours are always circulating around him with possible departures as there is enough fire and spark on both sides to add kerosene to it. The only Spurs player to score 5 goals in an EPL match still has a lot to offer for the North London outfit and the decision makers will be counting on him to deliver the goods.
Promising Youngsters – Kane and Coulibaly
Harry Kane is tipped by many as the player to take over the batten from the senior strikers at NH17. Already a regular in the England U-19 setup, Kane has amazed 6 goals from 14 outings for the young lions. The young Englishman made his senior debut for Tottenham hotspurs in the Europa League campaign last year and is expected to make the much awaited premier league debut in the upcoming season. The academy lad has made his name as a shadow striker in the setup but Spurs require him as their main weapon in the upcoming season if pre-season line-ups are to be considered. He is considered as a dead ball specialist in the academy and reserve team setup and the coaching staff will be counting on him to step up to the front of the queue for the senior side. Goal scoring will never fail to get noticed and the unknown prospect outside the Tottenham fan-base can become a surprise package if he can fulfill his potential.
Souleymane Coulibaly, on the other hand, made his name in the U-17 world cup last year by notching 9 goals in just 4 appearances. The Ivory Coast youngster, despite interest from giants Real Madrid and Manchester United, moved to White Hart Lane soon after his Golden Boot winning performance. He has made good progress at the academy and has become a shining star in the NextGen series by consistently delivering impressive performances across Europe. He is the one to watch out for in the future, will he be able to deliver if required at the present age? Only time will tell.
The concept of a shadow striker or second striker is tweaked and in the current tactical setup, an advanced play-maker with an eye for goal is required than a shadow forward. Spurs management need not worry about this position as their squad sheet contains a world class player in Rafael Van Der Vaart. After his arrival from Santiago Bernabeu two seasons ago, VDV has chipped in with crucial goals at regular intervals and has made himself a fan’s favorite. Even though the Dutchman reached double figures in both seasons, his position is under serious threat with the arrival of March’s Premier League player of the month – Gylfi Sigurdsson.
The young attacking midfielder from Iceland has impressed the Spurs think tank with some impressive performances in the pre-season friendlies. He was voted as the player of the season on two consecutive occasions during his stay at Reading and Hoffenheim before his arrival at the Liberty stadium. He is considered as a real steal for Spurs from under the noses of Liverpool and Swansea with age and vital EPL experience under his belt. Apart from scoring goals, both VDV and Gylfi possess great vision and creativity to unlock the opposition and are perfectly suited for the No: 10 role for AVB’s template. Youngster Harry Kane is also interested towards the Number 10 role and this position is expected to provide selection dilemma to the manager in-terms of options available.
This bunch of strikers are promising but might not provide the finished article for the upcoming season which is going to be long and filled lots of twists and turns. There have been a number of strikers linked with Spurs in the last year or two. However, Villas Boas’ Spurs require a modern day center forward who can be a threat to the opposition in more than one way. A striker who can get involved in the build up play, hold the ball upfront when surrounded by defenders and most importantly one, who can contribute to the free flowing football without breaking the rhythm. Above all, he has to score goals and win matches for his team, as did loan star Emmanuel Adebayor, who himself heads the list of potential arrivals but his massive wage demands are proving out to be the major stumbling block in sealing a permanent move to White Hart Lane.
Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao, who has also been linked with a move to Tottenham, has admirers across the globe and Spurs fans will be hoping that he will remain in the capital after his Olympic duties. He also looks to be a perfect match for the free flowing attacking football displayed by the North London outfit. Schalke striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar can also become the missing piece of jigsaw, but will he be content with Europa league when his current club is fighting for the most supreme club competition? Injury prone Villareal striker Guiseppe Rossi is also considered as a viable option following his sides relegation while Manchester United outcast Dimitar Berbatov can make a surprise return to the Lane but there is enough bad blood between him and the chairman to prevent a return to the English capital.
Athletic Bilbao’s target man Fernando Llorente has his admires at North London as well but the Spanish club’s demands might price Tottenham out of the deal and they might look for Athletico Madrid’s Adrian who will be a comparatively cheaper option. Frenchmen Loic Remy was a primary target for Harry but his valuation and the change in management might put a full stop. Amid large number of speculations it remains to be seen who will wear the white jersey next season to conquer the football lovers at White Hart Lane.
Spurs need to invest in a forward; but they don’t need to rush through the deal which will end up in requirements mismatch. A modern No. 9 is the need of the hour which isn’t available in plenty. At the same time, the club cannot put its life under scrutiny by agreeing massive wages or huge transfer fee. The chairman is known for his shrewd business deals with the best interest of the club in mind and so a big money signing is looking a distant dream. Spurs fans will be hoping that a saviour will come to lead them to the title which has eluded them for more than 50 years. Who is going to be the special one to carry the expectations of Spurs faithful?