An ‘in depth’ look at what Nacer Chadli offers Tottenham


Earlier today, we secured our second signing of the summer: Nacer Chadli from FC Twente, for a fee of around £7 million.

As we know, Andre Villas-Boas does like to surprise people with his team selections, but Chadli is expected to fill in on the left-wing for Spurs. This means that we won’t need to rely on Lewis Holtby, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson to be of use, out of position, on the left. Although these players (Sigurdsson especially) played well out wide last season, Chadli should bring another dimension to our wing play, and allow others to play in their more natural positions.

Chadli’s goalscoring record is impressive for FC Twente, as he has racked up 26 goals in the last two seasons, from just 49 appearances in all competitions. Chadli clearly has an eye for a goal, and if he could bring this to England and score regularly, he would be a valuable addition for such a small fee. It is vital for all three members of the attack in a 4-3-3 to be accomplished in front of goal, and Chadli certainly has shown that he is a quality finisher over the past two seasons for Twente. Chadli also brings, as I mentioned earlier, ‘another dimension’ to our attacking build-up play. Time and time again last season, we saw how Sigurdsson and Dempsey couldn’t beat their marker down the inside, like Aaron Lennon could on the opposite side. The less said about Lewis Holtby on the left the better. Sigurdsson and Dempsey found themselves drifting in-field or dropping deep to collect the ball more often than not, and in doing so, taking virtually all pressure of our opposition’s right full-back. Although Sigurdsson and Dempsey were awkward to mark at times, and did still manage to play well and score some crucial goals for us, having such one dimensional wide players is so easy to defend against, and meant that our attacks were far too narrow. Our opposition defenders and midfielders crowded the space just outside our penalty box, making space very difficult to find for the likes of Sigurdsson, Lennon, Adebayor and Dembele. The harsh reality is, if it wasn’t for the utter brilliance of Gareth Bale, and his unstoppable shots from outside of the area time and time again, our failure to break teams down would have been more noticeable, and many more teams would have come away from White Hart Lane with a clean sheet to their name.

So how does Chadli change things? Imagine a Spurs attack, but this time with the more direct Nacer Chadli replacing Dempsey or Sigurdsson on the left-hand side. Chadli, like Sigurdsson and Dempsey, is right-footed and likes to come inside from his wing and look to get in goal scoring positions. However, Chadli also possesses the pace, trickery and agility to beat his marker on either side, meaning in some ways he offers danger on two fronts, inside and out. Chadli has the ability to take the full-back two different ways, something which Dempsey and Sigurdsson really could not do. Chadli can cut inside and take his marker towards goal and look to get a shot away, or beat him on the inside and look to whip in a cross for Adebayor, Bale or hopefully Roberto Soldado to get on the end of. This unpredictability will force opposition full-backs to be more alert, and mark Chadli tightly, and they will be under more pressure than if Sigurdsson or Dempsey were their man. As we know, the more tightly a winger is marked, the more space becomes available in the centre of the pitch. More space for Gareth Bale to play with in our case. Obviously this is a positive, and is yet another way in which Chadli’s presence benefits us.

A lot has also been made of how Chadli and Bale will play as ‘interchangeable wingers’ next season. Although I imagine Gareth Bale will play in more of a ‘free role’ to Chadli, the wing forwards in our 4-3-3 formation next season will definitely be given more of a license to roam about the pitch than in our previous 4-2-3-1 formation. Expect both Chadli and Bale to pick the ball up on either side of the pitch at certain times next season. Chadli has all the attributes to take defenders on and beat them from the right, and will surely have to do this at some stage next season. More often than not though, Chadli will take up position on the left, with Gareth Bale having more of a free role.
Another thing worth bearing in mind, is the role that Nacer Chadli plays for the Belgium national side. He plays slightly deeper, and in a more central role for The Red Devils, as the most advanced midfielder in a 4-3-3. This is a very similar role to the one Mousa Dembele is expected to be deployed in for Tottenham next season. Chadli has started alongside the likes of Axel Witsel, Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini and Steven Defour in Belgium’s midfield three in recent times, so obviously is fairly accomplished in this midfield role if he has been selected to play there amongst such household names. Given the injury problems that Mousa Dembele had last season, I believe there is a chance that we could see Chadli deployed in midfield at times next season. A midfield of Paulinho, Sandro and Chadli sounds miraculous, and the re-shuffle in the absence of Dembele would allow Aaron Lennon or Andros Townsend to get game time on the flanks, something which they will both need.

In conclusion, the signing of Nacer Chadli is a very intelligent one by Franco Baldini, Andre Villas-Boas and Daniel Levy. He can offer increased diversity to Tottenham’s attacks, as well as provide cover for players in other positions. I am excited to see Chadli in a Spurs shirt next season, and feel that he could be a vital goalscoring component of Andre’s new 4-3-3 system. Welcome to Spurs, Nacer Chadli.

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  1. To be honest this signing seems fairly unnecessary. I appreciate the article – it’s a great read – but do we really need to be focusing on the left side of midfield considering we have youngsters such as Adam Smith and Falque coming through? Kyle Naughton could also push forward, and given Walker’s attacking capabilities I’m sure he could to a good job there too. What’s more, with AVB and Bale set to leave the club, why are we not waiting before receiving hefty sums for the pair. The combination of those departures would leave us with around £150 million – more than enough to sign a player of higher caliber than Chadli. The likes of Scott Sinclair and Snodgrass would definitely welcome a move to Spurs, and wouldn’t cost much more than Chadli. However, I really think our ‘keeper situation is one that needs addressing. With £150 million we could afford to bring in Casillas, Buffon AND Begovic to rival Lloris for the No1 spot, and in the process, create the strongest depth of ‘keepers the world has ever seen. Just my view anyway.

    • we are gonna play a 4-3-3 and you want adam smith,kyle naughton to play in the 3 forward postions…christ im glad your not the manager!!!……cassilas or buffon to rival loris,man you are mental…youve been sitting in the sun too long!!!

    • What the hell are you talking about?
      You are talking about the worthiness of signing a player for the front three or perhaps the midfield three, and talking about Walker, Naughton and Smith who are all right backs.

    • OMG Harry Webb, some of the stuff you just put down is embarassing I can't begin to go through it.

      Right Basically last year Sigurdsson and Dempsey played wide left, both are not suited to this role, we need someone to go inside and out of the full back to keep the width and to be quick.

      Chadli is the only player in the squad aside from Bale who can play wide left effectively therefore he is completely necessary, Lennon is terrible on the left and Townsend is better on the right.

      A wide 4 of Bale, Lennon, Townsend and Chadli offers us the pace and options on the wing to allow us to use Sigurdsson centrally and to get rid of Dempsey

    • You're a Gooner, aren't you? Your posts clearly evidence that you know nothing about Spurs, or indeed football. May I suggest that you refocus your attentions to netball or sewing, which would appear to be more appropriate for you.

    • Holy bolony! What are you, 14? Come back when you understand football. Excellent signing, can cover both flanks, and gives us the best striker we could wish for. Gareth Bale! He's gonna limit Sigurdsson and Holtby's game time, but when they play, they'll play in the right position. All we need now is Soldado, allthough that looks like a stretch. Why isn't Stefan Kiessling hotter on the transfer market? Looks like a class forward, perfect for us…

    • Seek medical help immediately… have an advanced case of SFB Syndrome………………..(Shit For Brains)

    • What shocking view and knowledge you have on football, you advice to build the team up with 4 world class GOAL KEEPERS!!!???? Are you thinking to put all four of them on the pitch at the same time too? You are barking mad mate.

      Bale and AVB set to leave?!!? They are not leaving mate, omg you give Spurs fans a bad name!!!

    • Is Harry Webb trying to wined us up , All of what he has said is total crap Chadli is a brilliant signing he's so versatile he can play anywhere up front left or right he and Gareth Bale are going to total confuse our opposition by interchanging and they will both score goal and if we get 2 good strikers I think this will be the start of us playing regularly in Europe. I feel I have very good reason to be really happy , I've supported Tottenham for 42 year so ive been suffering a long time.

  2. contrary to people saying we don't need another midfielder, I would say he's more of an attacking winger, and an auxiliary forward. Welcome to spurs young man! Have to feel a bit sorry for Townsend and Lennon but competition is good.

  3. Ya'y!!! I am so damn excited for Spurs now. Guys, I might sound too optimistic, but i have a feeling we'll be challenging for the title this season. One more signing and we are off to some serious business.

    • Christ! Challenging for the title?! We can't even get in the champions league because levy always let's us down in January.

      Calm down its battle for top four that we will be involved in unless some serious bank breaking signings are brought in!

  4. Ya'y!!! I am so damn excited for Spurs now. Guys, I might sound too optimistic, but i have a feeling we'll be challenging for the title this season. One more signing and we are off to some serious business.

  5. I don’t think lennon will miss out because of this . Chadli on the left lennon on the right and bale will play as a second striker or behind the striker lennon will still start

  6. Harry Webb clearly doesn’t know shit and seems a stupid tottenham the hell will we get casillas,buffon,scott sinclair? Rubbish.


  7. Harry Webb; Smith, Falque and Naughton are not of the quality that we need to be looking at. We don’t want somebody to “do the job” we want quality options which we now have in Chadli. We’re now a striker short of a team that potentially do great things.


  9. Harry Webb.. are you a spurs fan??? really???wake up mate!!!
    We only need one more signing now and I hope thats Soldado!!!! real fans that watch and play football know whats going on… admittedly though we do need to release some of the deadweight to balance the books (parker,livermore etc..) if what was released was true and AVB had £50mil to spend i guess we still have £26mil to spend on a quality striker.COYS!!!

  10. So what's going to be the formation next year?
    CHALDI—(new striker)—LENNON
    ^i think this is the best one….

  11. Harry…is you stoned!!!!….i av being looking at this Chadli Class for a few months…check out his chip on you tube…..oh yea harry we do need a keeper…a quality stopper….to stop crazy s*(% being posted….however with the freedom of speech we have to let you continue….please do, its funny, HONESTLY ;)

  12. Harry Webb is clueless. Great signing in my opinion, a spark we missed out wide, especially when Lennon wasn’t there. Good article, clear to the point and just states the obvious factors Chadli will bring to us !! Now onto signing a striker. Benteke would of been nice, would of fitted our 4-3-3 mould (seems to be the formation we are going to play). However something in my mind said no about signing him. Saldado is my first choice, and if the gunners are going for Higuian I don’t see why we don’t try for him. Also either need to sit Adebayor down and tell him to shape up or sell him and try and get Dzeko!!! We want big things at this club so we need big signings !!! THFC COYS

  13. Come on guys, Harry Webb is clearly on the wind up. I found it hilarious. He’s saying he doesn’t want a left winger as too much competition but wants 4 ‘world class keepers’ (ok begovic is not). Automatic starters for me next season are lloris, verts, kabs, Sandro, paulinho, and bale. Rest of team can be rotated.

  14. Harry Webb Take a Bow my man,fall into the cesspit you got out of and go look for a football brain!! Great signing,like has been quoted we need 1 maybe 2 quality strikers to put the Gooners where they belong,hanging onto our coat tails come May’14. COYS

  15. Haha just realised you actually chose 12 with no keeper!

    Really good article the versatility and options this signing provides is exactly what we need.

    dont agree with those saying we nneed another left back bae and rose should be fine with jan the man having the ability to play there means we have more than adequate cover.

    1 in 1 out in the striker role and possibly look at losing parker And 1 of thudd or Livermore. Gomes is all but gone as he has been told to find himself a club 2 in every position and u21 to make up the numbers really confident fof next season. #COYS #TTID

  16. I do wonder if Spurs will buy a striker, especially if we are considering having Bale in the middle. Assuming that Dembele, Paulinho and Sandro are our midfield (we have plenty of reserve backups to them) then I am guesing that Bale, Chadli, Defoe,Lennon, Siggy, Holtby and Townsend will all battle for the front 3 spots.

    We've seen Townsend playing on the right so far this pre-season and he did so for QPR very effectively, I wouldn't be too surprised to see Spurs lining up Chadli, Bale, Townsend/Lennon as the front 3. Be interesting to see if we both to sign a striker, or if we really even need one.

  17. We will line up in a 4-3-3 next year. Lloris; Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose/ New LB; Paulinho, Sandro, Dembele; Bale, Adebayor/ New CF, Lennon/ Chadli. Subs: Freidel, Caulker, Naughton, Livermore, Sigurdsson, Lennon / Chadli, Defoe/ Dempsey/ New CF

  18. I appreciate we have quite a lot of front players now bale, Lennon, sig, Townsend etc but chadi is a great addition we deffinatley do need a big time striker as well and old school style striker can’t rely on ade ad Defoe is getting on too many injuries now com on lads lets go back to basics get some strikers deffinatley needed 100% simple


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