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Tottenham’s Quest for New Strikers: Who They Should Buy And Who Should Stay

anelka drogba Tottenham’s Quest for New Strikers: Who They Should Buy And Who Should Stay

One of the pressing concerns for Tottenham Hotspur is the need for quality, reliable and consistent strikers. During the 2010-2011 season the forwards for Spurs were Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Robbie Keane, who collectively failed to provide the necessary goals for the club. Instead the club relied on individuals such as Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart and Aaron Lennon to produce the goals for the club. Basically the midfield was doing the leg work for the team in scoring goals and the odd goals provided from the defense. So, if your objective is to remain competitive with the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal — and fight for a place in the Champions League — the need for consistent goal scorers is critical.

When looking at Tottenham’s strikers, the question to ask is what happened? In the past they have had very reliable forwards but during 2010-2011 it wasn’t case. The buzz around White Hart Lane is regarding who Harry Redknapp is going to bring in and who will be on their way out.

It is very fair to say that Giovani dos Santos will be on his way out. Since his arrival he hasn’t made an impact and being sent on loan to other clubs would strongly suggest the club would like to unload him onto someone else.

Robbie Keane is an odd case. Before being sold to Liverpool, he was a very successful goal scorer for the club. His partnership with Dimitar Berbatov was especially productive. But ever since his return from Liverpool in February 2009 he hasn’t been the same and hasn’t been able to return to his old form of being a successful goal scorer. In looking at the remaining 2008-2009 season, Keane started 14 matches and only had 5 goals. During the 2009-2010 Keane made 20 starts with 6 goals. Mid season he went on loan to Celtic and surprised many in how well he did with 16 starts and 12 goals. In the pre season leading up to the 2010-2011 season, he looked promising but unfortunately failed to deliver. At the start of 2010-2011, Keane made 7 starts and 0 goals and then went on loan to West Ham and really didn’t have much luck there either. On international duty Keane has done well for Ireland so one has to wonder and think that Spurs is no longer a good fit for him and he just hasn’t been able to form a successful partnership on the pitch with the other strikers as he has done in the past. It would seem that Keane will be on his way out and will make way for a new individual.  I still think Keane has a lot to offer and is a very capable forward but just not at Tottenham, which will be sad since he was among my favorite players at the club.

Much of Roman Pavlyuchenko’s career at Spurs has been a mixed one of wanting to leave, then wanting to stay and a lack of playing time according to him. What I see with Pavlyuchenko is really a lack of being a consistent player. Yes, he was the top goal scorer among the Spurs forwards with 10 goals from 29 matches last season. In the last match against Birmingham he looked good but that is the problem with him, he shines and then the light goes out and you’re left wondering what is going on with him. But then again he scored a hat trick playing with Russia in their last Euro 2012 qualifying match. So what do you do with him? In the past I have said ‘get rid of him’ but then I think well maybe with the right strike partner and with the right motivation he could improve. However, I think the jury is still out but unless something changes soon for him, I think he will be on his way out. I really think he is one of those puzzling players because he does have potential.

Peter Crouch has been another disappointment as well and more so than Pavlyuchenko. Crouch scored only 4 goals in 29 matches last season, which wasn’t very inspiring. On the plus side his height has been and can be a great asset if used properly.  I think he can score goals and if they plan on keeping him they really need to demand much more from him, if he is to justify his role at the club. I think if I was Harry I would be thinking about selling him to another club. I just really haven’t seen that much commitment or improvement in Crouch.

Jermain Defoe has to be the great disappointment of the season with only 4 goals in 22 starts. In the 2009-2010 season Defoe scored 22 goals. So what went wrong with last season? To be fair he was injured in the early part of the season and that can have an impact on any player. When he returned he just didn’t seem the same. Of all the strikers he may be the one to stay. I still think he has lot ability but he needs to change his way of thinking and push himself harder to get back into the form that has made him so successful in the past. I think overall his record is the best out of the group but you can’t whine about not getting first time playing if you are not demonstrating that on the field. I think if I was Harry I would keep Defoe.

Spurs have, with the arrival of Rafael van der Vaart, moved away from having two strikers up front with just one forward with Rafael van der Vaart as a withdrawn striker. Perhaps this is the problem for the Tottenham forwards not really adjusting. So, if Rafael is to stay which seems very likely it may be important to find an individual or individuals that work well under this format. However, Harry did play a 4-4-2 formation in the second match against Arsenal and I thought the team played very well and Rafael van der Vaart did play in that formation and performed well. The game ended 3-3 but the edge should have been given to Spurs. Experimentation is a good thing, something that should not be shied away from and I think the coaching staff should experiment more with the players.

So who to bring into the squad? Well there is a lot of talk about that. Here are five individuals to have a good look at.

  1. Since the arrival of Torres to Chelsea and the preference of the ownership to play him, Didier Drogba could be a nice addition to the Spurs lineup. An experienced striker could be what Spurs really need at the moment. He scored 11 goals in the 2010-2011 season and during the previous season had 29 goals. One drawback could be his age, 33, and so he may not have many years left to play but an experienced player from a successful club could be a very useful asset to the team.
  2. The next individual is Dimitar Berbatov, who seems to have fallen out of favor with Manchester United. Berbatov having played for Spurs in the past could make an easy adjustment since many of the same players are still there. In two years, he has scored 46 goals in 102 appearances (not just league matches). And this last season he scored 21 goals in 20 starts. Being 30 years of age he would still have a number of years to play. The major drawback I see with Berbatov is that he plays better with a partner and did a good job with Robbie Keane when he was at Spurs. However, Harry favoring the lone forward with Rafael van der Vaart playing back might not work out for Berbatov. Plus, United seem to prefer a trade for the striker and the individual United want is Modric and Spurs have made it quite clear they have no intention of parting company with him, so that might end that idea.
  3. Leandeo Damiao of Internacional could be another attractive pick for Tottenham. In two years with Internacional, he has scored 29 goals out of 49 appearances.  However, his youth being 21 years of age could be a caution for Harry in looking for a more experienced player. But a young player under the wings of veteran players could be just what the team needs, to build for the future.
  4. Daniel Sturridge of Chelsea would fit the same mold as Damiao — a young player with a lot of potential for the club and so he would be someone else to consider as well.
  5. Sometimes looking beyond the top leagues might be a good idea as well. For example, Reading’s Shane Long could be good a nice addition to the strike force at Spurs.  During the 2010-2011 season Long scored 23 goals in 45 appearances and has been linked with Celtic so other top clubs are looking at him and one that Harry may want to consider as well.

Last January I thought Tottenham should have made a more aggressive move for Andy Carroll, a young striker I believe is on the rise and a player that really could have matured and developed at Spurs. I think they could have afforded the transfer bid and beaten Liverpool to him. To a point the club is going to have to spend money. Like the saying goes, in order to make money you need to spend money. For the time being Spurs will not be able to offer the big wages that Manchester United or Manchester City can afford, but that is alright since there are plenty of talented individuals who will be attracted by a club that wants to build for a future and challenge the status quo.

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25 Responses to Tottenham’s Quest for New Strikers: Who They Should Buy And Who Should Stay

  1. Dy says:

    I can see Crouchy causing teams in the Europa league problems, Keane needs to be moved on, if Pav or Defoe are happy to play back up strikers then fine. We need the young Brazilian, Podolski, and I’d take Drogba on a short term contract to see us into the Champs Leagus again. If none of the above then Berbatov.

  2. MennoDaddy says:

    Fine article. You hit the crux of the issue when you talk about wages. I’ve said it on here before and I’ll say it again, any rumor that links Spurs with the likes of Drogba, Anelka, Berbatov, or other aging world-beaters is simply bogus. While Spurs most certainly can afford the transfer fee for players of that nature, they cannot and will not pay the £150,000+/wk wages that those players demand. IIRC, Robbie Keane is the team’s highest wage earner right now at £80,000/wk.

    Spurs need to hit that sweet spot and find players that are on the cusp of greatness but don’t yet demand world-class wages. Compounding the problem is that they also need to convince that talent to move to a club with European aspirations, but whom aren’t there next season. Tricky.

    So, individual players. Drogba and Berba are non-starters because the wages are out of control and both would require Modri? heading the other direction.

    I would LOVE to get Daniel Sturridge in a Spurs shirt, but I’m pretty darned certain Chelsea won’t want to play ball with a team that’s trying to knock them out of the top four.

    I’m also high on Leandro based on everything I’ve read about him thus far. He sounds like he could be a solid choice. But in my heart of hearts, we’d find a way to land Hulk from Porto.

  3. I would hope that Spurs sign a top clas player such as Drogba but younger, but not Berbatov. As he left us as he thought we were not good enough for him. But Harry has to hurry up before all the top dogs are taken.

  4. Marcos Brabo says:

    What happened with the speculations regarding Llorente? Even though they rejected the £33 bid in January, Spurs should try this guy again. Andy Carroll cost Liverpool £35 and Llorente is much much better.

  5. canspur says:

    vote for Eto’o.

  6. Coullj says:

    I’ve watched a few videos of Leandro Damiao and he looks like a natural goalscorer, but also very un-brazilian. He seems quite slow, not overly technical so not sure how he would adapt to the fast paced premier league.

    Berbatov I found to be an excellent lone striker, his aerial ability and hold up play are perfect for the role. It was against Bolton I think when Keane was sent off and he displayed one of the finest Solo striker performances I’ve ever seen.

    Drogba would be the perfect choice, would he take a pay cut? Doubtful! But he would only be a stop-gap option due to his age, much like Gallas.

    Sturridge good player, but not quite the right mould of player, we need someone who can play up top alone and I don’t see that as his game.

    Hulk…he’s good but again he drifts into the channels quite a lot, not the centrally operation goalscorer we need, Falcao on the other hand…

    My suggestions are Falcao, Diego Milito, and Adebayor.

  7. emdoubleu says:

    Lone strikers for spurs: kevin Doyle, Diego militia, falcao, or Bobby zamora. Drogba is an option buy other clubs would pay more in another league. Zamora would cost much. Kevin Doyle is reasonable. To get Doyle need to trade a player. Maybe a CB.

    • Danny says:

      Zamora and Doyle? Come on mate, there honest decent premier league players. But like Harry said we’ve to match Modric’s ambition and show our top players that we’re looking to progress, these two players couldnt be further from that. We have to be looking at Falcoa and as much as i hate to say it Adebayor

      • MennoDaddy says:

        Again, wages. Adebayor is earning £140,000/wk. at City. No way he comes to Spurs for less money and no Champions League football.

        • Danny says:

          I know wages are an issue and he is a greedy swine. But he did say he would welcome a move to Spurs himself, and ‘apparently’ his preference was a move to us before he made his move to Madrid. I agree though i can’t really see this one happening, even if he wanted to drop his wages a doubt Man City would sell anybody to us.

    • emdoubleu says:

      falcao is going to chelsea most likely with his coach. I dont see Redknapp switching to a whole new system 433 just for falcao. it would be exciting to watch but he prefers the loan striker up top or a 442. Ade too expensive. Padolksi or david villa but dont think he would be up for non champ league play.

  8. Sp3aker says:

    Shane Long and Andy Carrol? Are you on crack? Shane Long is a championship calibre footballer, and Carrol has proven NOTHING since joining the mickey mousers, and is THE most overpriced footballer in history. The day of the big lump up front is over, football has progressed and moved on.

    In future keep your opinions to yourself because they are utter garbage.

    • The Gaffer says:

      To be fair, Shane Long was one of the best players in the 2010-11 Championship season and is being tracked by several Premier League clubs as a potential transfer acquisition this summer. He’s definitely gifted.

      Andy Carroll hasn’t had a chance to show what he’s made of at Liverpool, but based on his performances with Newcastle, I’m confident he’ll be a success in the Premier League (as Shane Long will be if again given a chance to play in the top flight).

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Matthew says:

      Wow, a free speech hater. Did you think maybe Carrol is at the wrong club, he played pretty well for Newcastle. The point behind Shane Lane is sometimes need to look in different places. Also, if you are going to makes a comments try using analyical thought process in your comments.
      “In future keep your opinions to yourself because they are utter garbage.” Really? Is that best you can say?

  9. Tuttle says:

    I would nominate Kevin Kuranyi, but now I see he’s making like $8 mil a year at Dinamo. Gonna be hard to pry him away from that.

    Dembe Cisse might be a good fit behind Crouch.

  10. Gavin says:

    As a Liverpool fan I would welcome Spurs taking Carroll off our hands. I just don’t see him making good at Liverpool. He’s had one-half of a good season at Newcastle. With all due respect to Newcastle fans the two clubs right now are not on the same level.I don’t see the qualities he has for him to be a success. He has nom pace, cannot dribble, hold the ball up and has a poor pass. Besides, he has problems off the pitch which is worrisome. Spurs are welcome to him.

    • Matthew says:

      I completely agree off the pitch he has got problems and needs more discipline in his life. Maybe Newcastle was unwilling to tackle the problem. Maybe addressing his off pitch actions could turn the young player around. I still see potential in him.

  11. Joe says:

    I think Falcao is an unrealistic target now, he’s too good, more likely to go to a better club like Real Madrid or Chelsea – my bet is he’ll follow Villas-Boas and be starting for Chelsea come September.

    Leandro Damiao seems like a good prospect, although perhaps a bit of a gamble since he’s young and lacks experience. I can’t see this being too much of a problem however if they get him for less than £15 million (as close to £10mil as possible), it’d leave spurs with some money left to play with, money say to buy a certain Diego Forlan? who has just been transfer listed for £7 million by Athletico Madrid.

    Forlan would provide experience and I can see him fitting well at Tottenham. The drawback obviously is his age, but at 7 million I still think he’s a bargain.

    As far as selling strikers I think they should definitely sell Crouch and Keane (even though I too really liked Keane in the Martil Jol days) they’re both ageing and now would be the perfect time to get a decent price for them, before they’re too far over the hill. Also I can’t really see them driving the club forward back into champions league territory.

    I think they should keep Defoe, cos well, I love him! I also think it’d be harsh to sell him after one dud, injury plagued season, when he was so good the season before (09/10). That’s of course if he wants to stay. With spurs sure to sign a quality striker this summer, Defoe could end up playing a bit part, especially as I expect them to sign an out and out goalscorer similar to Defoe. I think he’d be keen to move elsewhere where he’d get more football, and given that he could fetch a decent price, it could be an attractive option for both club and player.

    I think Pavlyuchenko should stay. If crouch go’s spurs will lack a decent target man (unless leandro damiao can play as a target man, anyone?). He’s also got a decent shot and I think he’s a good all-rounder, making him a option to have.

    I’d like to see Adebayor in a Tottenham shirt and he has shown interest in the past. I think he’d be ideal as he’s a good target man (and could link up with van der vaart in the same way that crouch did last season) as well as a proven goal scorer (I think? seem to remember him banging them in arsenal..) so he’d provide goals whilst fitting straight into the existing system.

    However as mentioned, his wage demands could prove a stumbling block. He also seems to cause trouble wherever he go’s, (seem to remember him having disputes at both arsenal and man city?) and I wouldn’t like to see him disrupting Tottenham’s excellent team spirit.

  12. brian c says:

    I can see Drogba being a really good fit for T’ham but honestly, I can’t see any team justifying a large transfer fee for him. He may go for real cheap given his age but I would expect him to command the same wages he gets at Chelsea. I can’t see him taking a paycut except maybe for Marseilles for his retirement season.

    I can’t see Berba going cheap, either. I don’t think Sir Alex expected to get the supersub they got in Javier Hernandez and were shocked at how well he adapted to life in Manchester. They already paid a massive transfer fee to get him and if something happens with either Hernandez or Rooney, they have a perfectly suitable replacement ready to step up.

    I don’t think Sturridge will move no matter how many forwards Roman buys. Perhaps another loan or two but nothing permanent. He’s really shown some great ability at Bolton and perhaps he was a great fit for that team but I don’t think his abilities have gone unnoticed at the Bridge.

  13. Bill says:

    I think Harry should do what Arsenal did with Thierry Henry and Barcelona with Messi. That is convert their star winger into a goal poacher – Gareth Bale would scare defences to death with slipped passes from Modric, VdV and Huddlestone.

  14. Harry says:

    Diego Forlan will join Spurs for around 7 million pounds. He didn’t have a very good season last year in Spain and is trying to revive his career. Spurs will be taking a chance on him and no one knows if he’ll be as good as he was the previous two seasons in Spain. I think the 7 million pound transfer fee will probably sway Spurs to go for him.

  15. josh says:

    samuel eto’o is perfect for spurs

  16. James says:

    I also think Harry will try to sign Forlan as he is now available for around 7 million. Harry was interested in him last season. He had a few good seasons in La Liga and had an indifferent one last season. I’m sure Spurs and everyone else will be watching his perfromance very closely during Copa America in July.

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