It’s fair to say that the summer 2013 transfer window for Tottenham will be remembered as an extraordinary one; after all we spent £107 million on seven new players. There is very little doubt that the squad as a whole is now considerably stronger in depth than it was in the previous season, even if we are without our ‘welsh wizard’. Which of our new stars will prove to me the most instrumental in the current campaign is still unclear. Here are my thoughts on it.
7. Chiriches (£8M)
Probably the most unknown player signed by Tottenham this window. This is not to say however that he is not an important signing for the team. With the ability to play as a centre back or at left back Chiriches will naturally provide important cover for the likes of Kaboul, Dawson, Vertonghen and Rose, at least at the beginning stages of the season.
Whilst we have not seen the player on the white Hart lane pitch, an idea of his personality and attitude towards the club has become clear from his comments following his signing. The fact that he sees his move as ‘dream come true’ suggests he is exceptionally grateful for the transfer which in turn suggests that he will put 100% into training and any matches that he plays in. Expect a hard worker. For the moment Chiriches appears to be a player who is an ambitious and hard working and who has been brought in to provide effective cover for the initial phase of the season. In this sense, he is arguably going to be the least influential in the long term
A deal that seemed to escalate quickly following the signing of Paulinho , Nacer Chadli seems like a player which very much suits the AVB profile: a versatile inside forward who can play across the front ‘3’ in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Being a right footed, left sided player, Chadli’s instinct will always be to cut inside where possible and either to shoot or to provide assists from a more central position, allowing either full backs to operate as a conventional wingers. Chadli seems like a promising player from what we have seen so far. He evidently has the strength and he additionally has the height to cope with physicality of the League. However, whether he has the ability to act as an inside forward with a creative spark as opposed to a strong functional winger we are yet to find out. Until he shows slightly greater flair, he will he will be less influential than the other players brought in.
Our very first signing of the summer came in June in the form of an up and coming Brazilian defensive midfielder, who had just finished a sparkling performance in the confederations cup. His label as a ‘defensive midfielder’ doesn’t quite tell the whole story, however. Paulinho does not just seem limited to interceptions and tackles in the centre, followed by a short pass to the nearest available player, but also seems keen to be involved in attacking moves. Against Swansea, for example, he occupied an inside forward role, coming close to scoring. We should expect much more than a conventional defensive midfielder. Paulinho’s goals came from his ability to occupy positions at the edge of the box and so get into goal scoring positions. His attacking prowess and goal scoring ability suggests he will provide an influential role in the coming season.
4. Soldado (£26M)
As I have maintained in previous articles, Soldado is an incredibly talented striker, who will score season changing goals this season, just as Bale did last year. As the stats show, when Soldado gets the ball inside the box, he is more likely to score than not , but this means that his success depends on the team’s ability to get the ball effectively to him in the box and for this reason I haven’t chosen Soldado as the most influential signing. Although he is an outstanding striker and poacher, his influence is dependent on the ability of the midfield to provide the service he needs to score. The North London derby was an example of this as we saw that he was given very limited opportunities because of the lack of delivery from the midfield and the full backs in the final third.
3. Capoue (£9M)
The signing of Capoue from Toulouse seemed to rather come out of the blue compared to the other six signings that were followed more closely by the media prior to their eventual signing. As a result it’s doubtful that that a lot of spurs fans (including myself) have a good knowledge of the Ligue 1 star and like Chiriches he is a rather an unknown quantity. What we have seen so far has certainly been promising. Capoue was a player who had one of the most significant impacts against Swansea (left) and Arsenal (right), according to Opta Stats Zone records but this was clear even without considering the actual data. Capoue has already shown that he is a similar sort of player to the likes of Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira, who not only operates by breaking down opposition offensive movements with strong tackles and interceptions, but also through the ability to push forward in a central position, and being able to play as a box to box midfielder as well as a conventional defensive midfielder. Capoue also appears to be more suited to the deeper position of the ‘3’ midfielders in a 4-3-3 formation than the likes of Sandro and Dembele. Will this help AVB make the permanent switch to 4-3-3 this season? Capoue is definitely going to be an influential player both defensively and occasionally offensively.
2. Lamela (£26M)
Forget Willian, we have Erik Lamela. Our club record signing is sureto be an exciting prospect and expect him to become a hugely influential part of the team for the coming season. Although he is likely to occupy Bale’s position and number, don’t expect him to have the same influence as the Welsh wizard. However, Lamela brings a valuable attribute to the squad; flare. Although we have a strong squad, it does lack that creative player who can be the difference between getting one point from a game and getting three. A team can be perfectly organised and applying the most appropriate tactics for a game, but sometimes a breakthrough can only happen through individual magic (just take Bale last season). This is what Lamela may just give us- that spark and magic that every team needs from at least one of its players.
Arguably he will become the most influential player in the coming season. Although we have a well-stacked midfield with the likes of Paulinho, Capoue, Dembele and Sandro, creativity is limited. With Holtby still being ‘one for the future’ for the time being this essentially means that we have no central creative midfielder. Take the last two League games for example; our midfield trio consisted of predominately defensive minded midfield players (Dembele, Capoue and Paulinho) and the lack of creative flair was obvious. Although spurs dominated possession no clear-cut chances were created. Eriksen is an up and coming attacking midfielder that has that spark that we may need. I believe he will be the most influential signing due to what he brings out of others, especially Soldado. With a more technical creative player behind, it is more than likely we will see Soldado with more opportunities at goal within the box. In addition, he surely will be able to thread more penetrating passes to wide players such as Chadli, Townsend, Lennon and Lamela in more dangerous positions. Expect Eriksen to unlock much more attacking football this season.
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