Tottenham spent big in the summer, bringing in well know foreigners like Roberto Soldado, Etienne Capoue, Erik Lamela and (probably the most well known) Christian Eriksen. However, the signing that has probably garnered the least attention from fans and media alike is a certain Nacer Chadli who we signed from FC Twente for £7million and who became our 2nd signing of the summer after Paulinho.
My main questions are: 1) How is Chadli doing? And 2) Where does he fit in the current Spurs team? Admittedly he has been struggling with an injury problem for most of his current time with us so currently; he has only started 3 Premiership games for Spurs with 1 substitute appearance. He has yet to score for Spurs in the Premiership or to provide an assist which sounds pretty poor coming from a winger but remember Spurs aren’t exactly a team known for rifling in the goals so far this season so his lack of positive stats may be redeemed when Spurs begin to find their attacking rhythm. However, in all competitions, Chadli’s stats begin to improve. His appearances go up to 4 starts and 5 sub appearances but in cup competitions, he has 2 goals and 1 assist, showing that he has the potential to get better and possibly become a more potent player in the league provided he gets over his injury problems and is given chances by AVB to prove his worth.
With regards to the second question, Chadli is quite a versatile player so he could easily slot in any of the 3 more forward midfield positions AVB employs in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation. Personally, I believe he would be better utilised on the left as, although not conventionally speedy, he has a very athletic build standing at 6ft 2 so prefers to rely on power and acceleration when he makes runs (reminiscent of Gareth Bale?) rather than using natural speed like Andros Townsend or Aaron Lennon. I have liked Chadli in the games that I have seen him perform in as he seems to have certain composure on the ball that I feel certain players lack at times. If he was to return on the left, his link up with Vertonghen would surely provide no problems considering they are teammates in the Belgian national team so communication would not be an issue in my opinion.
The main problem for Chadli is that his injury has left him quite far down the pecking order for Spurs given our scourge of midfield players so the main problem he will have is fighting to get back in the Starting 11. Currently, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Eriksen, Holtby, Lamela, Lennon and Dembele (whom I believe AVB is wasting in a deep lying role) all stand ahead of him to try to fill the attacking slots. The one thing that may work in Chadli’s favour when he returns is AVB’s fondness for rotation so he may well get a chance to prove himself at some point later on in the season, a chance he will have to grasp with both hands.
Admittedly, Eriksen’s injury and AVB’s persistence in playing Dembele in a deep-lying role will open some doors for Nacer but the fact is he will need to perform at his very best to regain his place in the Spurs squad or otherwise risk languishing on the bench week in, week out which will hardly be the most progressive thing for his career. It could also severely damage his chances of making a Belgian squad already brimming with talent and potential for next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil which will be a further devastating morale boost for Chadli and could result in him being labelled a flop and sold off next year.
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