It’s that time of the season where all eyes will be glued onto the market proceedings much like Tottenham Hotspur. Profits and losses make sense, but unlike the other market the priority is to get the targets. Values will vary as the time ticks on the clock as negotiators will try to get the best deal possible. Whether the deal is a coup or not will be determined by the performances afterwards. Teams will try to fill the voids in their armour; some teams will be successful while some others will fail in their pursuit. Before entering the market, team think tank need to do their homework properly to identify their weak-spots.
Was it the same old Tottenham Hotspur that we witnessed at the Sport Direct Arena on Saturday? A dominating first half performance which showcased the lack of killer instinct upfront followed by a second half where small lapses of concentration undid their good work. They were the superior team as they created more chances, and had more shots yet unlucky in defeat. However, at the end of the day, Tottenham Hotspur has zero points in the table after all the heroic efforts by the lads on the pitch.
Where were the neat triangles in midfield that was witnessed last season which opened up the opposition defence? Also missing was the Classic Centre Forward who can make the difference without sacrificing the fluidity in attack. Spurs lacked the creativity from middle of the park and the killer finishing upfront as they were given a timely reminder by the Magpies about their missing pieces in jigsaw.
Brad Friedel looked assured in goal behind a calm and composed defence. At 41, he has given Tottenham a steady presence at the back and there was not even a single question mark raised in the entire 90 minutes even though he couldn’t do anything about the goals that went in. Villas Boas hasn’t implemented his strategy completely and it wasn’t the same high line that we witnessed with Tottenham. Slowly he will be trying to implement his methods at White Hart Lane and there arises the need for a quicker, sharper and agile young custodian. Defence is looking assured at the moment and there is no need to invest immediately in this department as there are other areas which requires immediate attention.
Luka Modric is on his way out and Spurs can no longer build the team around him. Parker, Sandro and Livermore are more efficient as enforcers rather than creators. They will help in regaining the ball faster and better but they are not the creative talent a manager can look forward to when the team is in trouble. Creating and scoring a goal is not their forte. Efficient and energetic displays are needed in the new era; at the same time the need to keep possession. It is here the deep-lying play-maker comes into picture.
Creative armoury is not empty at the Tottenham roster even if we exclude the Croatian Maestro – who has his heart and mind set on a move away from White Hart Lane for the second consecutive season. Big Thud will be the perfect match for most of the Premier League clubs with his range of passing coupled with his shooting power. Huddlestone’s mobility puts a question mark over his future in Villas Boas era. He might not be able to close down the opposition as quickly as the other midfielders but he is worth a place in the team, at-least until a more mobile replacement arrives for Luka Modric. Tottenham can cover up Huddlestone by making Sigurdsson play little deeper and it will help to close down opposition quickly. At the same time, Huddlestone himself is good at positioning as well. However, this option will leave the front-man to do a lot of his own which is not suited for a player like Jermain Defoe.
Another option available for Villas Boas is to tweak the system to involve Sigurdsson and Van Der Vaart from the start at the expense of a midfield enforcer. Van Der Vaart also lacks the work rate required to fill the template of Villas Boas and that is one of the reasons why he was dropped at Newcastle. Sigurdsson repaid the faith shown by Villas Boas by covering a considerable area of the pitch in the first 68 minutes while the same cannot be said about Van Der Vaart, who replaced the former. The pair’s ability on the ball is expected to solve the one-dimensional play from Spurs but it will be at the expense of a defensive shield. It’s an option worth to implement in home games where opponents might camp inside their own half.
Apart from them Jermain Jenas is also available for Villas Boas; but the Tottenham fans have lost their faith in his abilities. His pre-season performance doesn’t give much hope as well and it will be better to sell him rather than selling someone like Huddlestone. Youngster Tom Carroll is expected to follow Jake Livermore’s footsteps from academy. He is expected to grab the openings coming his way in Europa League and in Cup competitions. Currently Tottenham have a big decision to make, only time will tell whether it is the right decision or not.
Deep lying playmakers of the highest quality are needed at Spurs but it’s not the first priority. Tottenham were looking to solve their striker puzzle since Berbatov bid adieu a few years back. They unsuccessfully tried to plug the gap many times in the last two years but hasn’t found a permanent solution till now. One season wonder Emmanuel Adebayor temporarily solved the problem last season but he hasn’t made his way back yet.
Clinical striker Jermain Defoe is the only genuine option available for Villas Boas as youngster Harry Kane is still developing as a player as well as striker. 5’6’’ Defoe was unsure of his future at Tottenham after his bit part role last term and his physical presence found it very difficult to reach the end of telling crosses from both the wings. Defoe is a natural goal scorer and his goal scoring stats underlines his credentials. However, he was seen missing in large chunks of Spurs games as he is not the ideal player for the lightning counterattacks and fluid attacking game possessed by the Lillywhites. Barring this aspects he can form a vital cog for any team and that is the main reason why Villas Boas is trying to hold on to his rare asset.
Defoe is not suited for the lone striker template in Villas Boas books but can Harry Kane suit himself for the role, being more of a shadow striker than a target man? Villas Boas made it clear that he will be his third choice striker this season and it will be his biggest test so far. He didn’t look out-of-place in Europa League last term and will be hoping to build on from those performances this season.
That leaves Tottenham with a slot open for a striker for this campaign and unfortunately for them it’s their main vacancy which is still not in place. Crew and support cast are ready but their search for a hero has taken an eternity. The big question remains unanswered presently. Will this striker conundrum be solved before the window is shut on September 1st? It remains to be seen whether Tottenham will land a classic no 9 who can give sleepless nights to the Premier League’s elite defenders.
In all possibilities Daniel Levy is going to plug all the holes in Villas Boas template which can bring the glory days back to White Hart Lane. It can be assumed that the chairman and management will make the right step which will lay the solid foundation to begin a new era at Tottenham Hotspur. Villas Boas is eager for success as is Tottenham management and the fans really hope that the missing pieces of jigsaw arrives on time at the Lane.
UPDATE: Emmanuel Adebayor has completed a £5m move from Manchester City to Tottenham Hotspur. (17:28 GMT)