The Team That Tottenham Hotspur Bought, All For the Price of Selling Just One Gareth Bale
The Gareth Bale transfer saga was always going to be the biggest story of the summer. Ever since Real Madrid showed interest in the Welsh star, any news of his potential transfer dominated headlines across England. While the football world has been wrapped up in in speculation around Bale, Tottenham as a club certainly haven’t. It seems as though they have been preparing themselves to sell him for a while now, quietly strengthening several areas of their squad earlier in the summer.
Although losing the player of the year will hurt Spurs for now, it may not in the long run. By spending a large amount (£99m) of the £86m funds they received from the Bale transfer, the club has gained several top quality players that could lead them to greater heights than Europa League qualification, and help them establish themselves among the top teams in the Premier League for years to come.
The Brazilian international was signed after an impressive showing at the Confederations Cup, where his all-around effectiveness was in full show. Whether he plays just in front of the back four, or in a more attacking role, he can do any job that Spurs may require on a certain day. Also, due his stamina and composure, Paulinho often both starts and finishes attacking movements, drawing comparisons to Frank Lampard. The 25 year old’s attributes seem to make him a perfect fit in the Tottenham midfield alongside the creativity of Dembele and the physical presence of Sandro, and he should be a fantastic signing if he can adjust to the pace of the Premier League.
Roberto Soldado (£26m)
A clinical finisher is necessary for any team challenging for Champions League spots or beyond, and in Roberto Soldado, Tottenham have just that. Soldado scored 34 goals for Valencia in all competitions last season, doing so in just 43 appearances. Finishing isn’t his only strength though, as he is superb at holding up the ball and bringing other teammates into the play, which is common among top forwards. In terms of presence though, the Spanish international does not offer much and rarely wins aerial battles. Despite this, with good service, Soldado will almost certainly reach the 20 goal mark this season, as top class finishing and great attacking runs will allow him to capitalize on the service from the wings.
Nacer Chadli (£7m)
Despite not being a big name signing, and arriving under the radar, Chadli comes from FC Twente offering important attributes such versatility and trickery to the squad. The Belgian youngster is able to play on the wings or even up top if needed, which is where he is often deployed for Belgium, with mixed effectiveness. His trickery allows him to run at opposing defenders and open up space for other players, which creates chances aplenty. The only question is what role he will be used in this season, as many see him as a squad player that should start from the bench. Whatever capacity he is used in though, Chadli can play an important role in this campaign, as he not only brings impressive skills, but also depth to the team, something Spurs have desperately lacked in the past.
Etienne Capoue (£9m)
Another central midfielder, the French international is a bit different than any of Tottenham’s current players. First off, he is very versatile, able to play in a defensive or attacking role. Also, as he did for Toulouse, he can fill in as a central defender. Second, he is fantastic at breaking up opposing play. Last season, according to whoscored.com, Capoue was dribbled past 0.43 times per game, the fewest for any Ligue 1 player. It’s safe to say he is a defensive stop-gap, and a strong one at that. Not only is he a good defensive player though, as he can also contribute to the attack. Playing long, searching through balls over the top of the opposing defence is a strength for Capoue. This is particularly promising for fans, as Roberto Soldado is adept at latching onto balls played over the top. If the two can combine, Spurs will have a valuable partnership between the midfield and attack, and yet another, more direct, route to goal. Hopefully he can recover from his injury soon.
Erik Lamela (£30m)
In the young Argentinian winger, Spurs have received one of the brightest young stars in Europe. Lamela has true potential to be a great player and a worthy replacement for Gareth Bale, given time to adjust of course. His pace and trickery can open up a tough defence in an instant, and his ball control is admirable for a young player. Like Bale, Lamela can also create moments of brilliance when he is on his day. At just 21 years of age though, he still has a few things to figure out, such as delivering on a consistent basis. But, if his 15 goals and 5 assists in Seria A last season prove anything, it’s that he is starting to utilize his various strengths to the maximum. Spurs fans should be buzzing about this signing, as it is a big step in the right direction after losing Bale.
Christian Eriksen (£10m)
In addition to all of the above players, the signing of Danish creative midfielder Christian Eriksen was one of Tottenham’s biggest coups this summer. This is a footballer who has been chased by many of the top clubs in Europe during the past two years including Liverpool, who reportedly tried to sign the Ajax midfielder on more than one occasion.
And with the transfer window not closing until September 2, you may even expect to see more signings by Tottenham Hotspur. The club may have lost Gareth Bale, but Tottenham Hotspur have gained half a team of quality professionals.