Tottenham have registered a squad with only one out-and-out striker for the Premier League Season. Will the other players be able to compensate?
Known as a shrewd businessman, Daniel Levy is rumoured to possess the ability to sell ice to an Eskimo. With his cut-throat bidding and ability to make ridiculous deals, the Chairman had helped Spurs complete some of the most successful deadline day pick-ups the club has ever seen. However, much to the frustration of many fans, Tottenham failed to land the star West Brom striker Saido Berahino who was more than eager to join the North London outfit. With Adebayor now a pariah, Kane remains the only striker in the Tottenham Squad after Soldado’s return to Spain. With a few days remaining for the closure of the transfer window, YID armies across the world clamoured for one of the three-million strikers Tottenham were being linked to. Nevertheless, Tottenham did not purchase any player after the acquisition of Bayer Leverkusena s Heung-Min Son and Lyona s Clinton Na jie.
Although the side missed out on the young English striker, Mauricio Pochettino has insisted that in the current world where a fluid style of football is prominent, there is no such thing as an out-and-out striker. Quite satisfied with the new arrivals and youngsters such as Alli and Pritchard, the Argentine insists that Spurs have more than enough firepower to carry them through the season. With four games completed out of the thirty eight, Tottenham are yet to secure their first win even after Kane the player who couldna t stop scoring was handed majority of chances created by the team. It is safe to say that until the striker or his counterparts begin to score, Tottenham will not have any realistic chance of aiming for a top four finish.
The Attacking Pair
With the international break coming to a close, Tottenham get back to the season facing a struggling Sunderland which houses two ex-Spurs players Jermain Defoe and Younnes Kaboul. At the bottom of the table, just one point shy of their visitors, Sunderland will also look to pick up their first win of the season. With the Cameroonian striker still recovering from a knee injury, it will be a while till we see the pacey winger again. Breaking into the Lyon team just the previous year, Na jie has been handed 15 starts and an equal number off the bench and has managed to rack up 7 goals and assists. Spurs has a current squad member who is also a 22-year-old with just one season to his credit, and is still struggling to establish himself, in the form of Erik Lamela. Much like Lamela, the young striker/winger is new to first flight football with no experience in the Premier League and just one commendable season in Francea s League out of the three he played in. Much will rely on how quickly the pacey forward will gel with the squad and acclimatise to a slightly more physical league.
Heung-Min Son on the other hand has made a name for himself as a lethal front man in the Bundesliga. Plying his trade at Bayer Leverkusen, the 23-year-old though just a year older to Na jie has seen a lot more top flight football than his peer. At the German camp, Son has managed to score a prolific 49 goals in 5 complete seasons. With exceptional pace and excellent positioning, Spurs fans can expect Son to feature in a game as soon as the one against Sunderland, after having obtained his work permit and all other documentation recently. The playera s confidence will be quiet high after having scored a hat-trick for his nation during the international break which he will hope to carry into his league games. Out of the 42 appearance for Leverkusen in the previous season, Son has managed to score a remarkable total of 17 goals. His success could mean the end of the likes of Lamela, who has failed even after constant attempts.
In the past four games, Tottenham have managed to create a great many chances, but the lack of quality and focus in the final third has prevented them from gaining a clear advantage against their opponent. With Eriksen returning from injury for the game against Sunderland, it will be interesting to see whether Pochettino is able to introduce the attacking arrivals to influence the results positively.
Tottenhama s defensive line-up has looked increasingly solid this season, barring a few errors. With Vertonghen returning to his former self in the game against Everton, Rose returning to the starting line-up and the back four shielded by Erick Dier, the team seems to be a solid unit. What Spurs have lacked in the past few games has been principally raw pace, like that which Lennon and Bale offered a few years ago. Townsend, although quiet fast paced, has been inconsistent and marred by frequent injuries. Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela on the other hand although considered quick, have either used their pace ineffectively or failed to show it in any of their previous games. The pace of both Son and Na jie will be a breath of fresh air if the two were to be used on the wings as it will prove to be useful in counter-attacking situations.
Using the pair as Wingers
A majority of the Spurs faithful expect to see Son and Na jie featuring on either side of Eriksen in Pochettinoa s favourite 4-2-3-1 formation. Though in order to accommodate the two, Tottenham would have to drop their highest goal scoring midfielder Nacer Chadli. Conversely when Statistics of the previous season are compared, Chadli seems to be the performer that stands out with Na jie turning out to be the poorest of the lot. With an equal number of goals (11) as his peer Son, Chadli has a better pass completion rate, more assists and a marginally greater rate of creating chances, having played five more games than his counterpart. Hence, dropping him from the squad to play Na jie would seem like a foolish decision. Thus, although Son might break into the team ahead of Dembele, it would take a spectacular performance and good work ethic at the training grounds before Na jie can become a regular starter.
Using the pair as Strikers
Despite being a prolific goal scorer, Kane lacks one attribute that could make him all the more lethal, which is pace. He seems to have adjusted his game to ensure that his work rate and excellent positioning compensate for his lack of pace. Clinton Na jie on the other hand, possesses raw pace and is known to play off the shoulder of the last defender looking to beat their offside trap. Na jie would offer Pochettino an option to use a fast-paced striker up front, while dropping Kane to a deeper number ten role or use the two strikers in an old school 4-4-2 formation where they offer both styles of playing at the same time. Son too, has often played as a striker at Leverkusen and would be a great attacking threat with his ability to use either feet. With the habit of dropping deep to receive the ball, his playing style is similar to that of Kanea s. He can serve as a back-up striker if the Englishman were to be injured.
Although a few Tottenham fans are disappointed with the transfer market activity, they should realise that with their last two acquisitions, Spurs have two charismatic players who offer the squad with the much needed pace and dynamism that the squad has lacked since Balea s departure. But will they be effective? Only time will tell.