Why Spurs simply can’t afford to miss out on Roberto Soldado

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As we all know, our pursuit for Spanish striker Roberto Soldado hit major problems on Tuesday, as a glum Franco Baldini got back on the plane to London from sunny Spain, having not secured a deal for Valencia forward Roberto Soldado. This was met on Wednesday with reports that Liverpool are set to hi-jack the deal, after Arsenal reportedly bid £40 million for Luis Suarez. I am very concerned at this moment in time.

Valencia president Amadeo Salvo has told Tottenham that they will have to meet Roberto Soldado’s €30 million (£25.8million) release clause to sign his team’s star player, and Daniel Levy, the man in charge of our finances, is being as ruthless as ever with regards to negotiations. Salvo confirmed that further talks with Tottenham will go ahead, and I will be crossing my fingers that we can secure what would be the biggest signing in the club’s recent history. I seem to spend my whole life defending Daniel Levy, reminding everybody of the wonders he has done for the club and balancing this out against his frustrating policy in the transfer market. Although I will never want Levy to leave our club, after everything he has one for us, missing out on this player in particular would really would be hard to swallow, considering the heartbreak we have had with David Villa and Christian Benteke already in this window. Tottenham really need this one to work out.

We have been specifically told by Valencia what it would take to sign Soldado, and we really would be foolish not to pay what ever it is they want for him. When considering the position that we face ourselves, it is worth remembering just how good Roberto Soldado really is. Just to give you an indication, you would have to go all the way back to 2009 to find a season in which Roberto Soldado failed to score fewer than 20 goals in all competitions for Valencia, and since then has netted 18, 17 and then 24 times in La Liga respectively. When you consider that La Liga is broadly considered to be one of the highest quality leagues in world football, to consistently score that amount of goals in a season is quite astonishing. Soldado’s record outside of the Spanish league isn’t bad either. His goal return in the UEFA Champions League is currently better than a goal every other appearance, with the Valencia target-man scoring 15 goals in 20 appearances for the Spanish club over the last three seasons. How many strikers in world football can boast a record in the Champions League as good as that? In short, Soldado has a phenomenal goal scoring record in Spain, which is comparable (and maybe even slightly better) than those of Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Negredo. Which ever way you look at it, signing Soldado to play alongside Gareth Bale at White Hart Lane next season would be a fantastic piece of business for Tottenham.

As I mentioned earlier, we have already missed out on our top striker targets this summer, with David Villa opting to stay in Spain with Athletico Madrid, and Christian Benteke opting to renew his Aston Villa contract, to the surprise of many. When you look at the rest of the transfer market, there really aren’t many suitable strikers still remaining, which makes our pursuit of Soldado even more important. The likes of Leandro Damiao, Edin Dzeko, Luis Muriel, Pablo Osvaldo, Burak Yilmaz and Loic Remy are all still available should we miss out on Soldado, but all are attracting interest from other clubs, and none of these (other than maybe Dzeko)  are really in the same class as the Spainard. Missing out on David Villa was annoying, being shunned by Benteke was a blow, but if we don’t secure Roberto Soldado from the position in which we find ourselves, it really would represent a failure from the club and would concern me deeply. There aren’t many occasions in which a team who don’t play in the Champions League get the opportunity to sign somebody like Roberto Soldado, and I couldn’t see another chance coming around for quite some time after this.

A lot has been made of the age of Soldado, and how it could be the factor in which stops Levy from paying the fee. I personally think it would be lunacy not to pay £26 million for Soldado, just because of his age. Other than the obvious point that this season’s Barclays Premier League top scorer was almost three years Soldado’s senior, it is worth considering what type of striker Soldado is before making premature conclusions about how good he will be in two or three years. All 24 of Roberto Soldado’s La Liga goals last season came from inside the box. If you like, Soldado is very much in the ‘Michael Owen in 2002’ mould, and is a deadly poacher. While Soldado may lose a yard or two of pace over the next couple of years, that is not what he is about at all. Aaron Lennon and Jermain Defoe are the players we need to worry about getting old, not Soldado. I have every confidence that Soldado could play to an extremely high standard for four, maybe even five seasons and be an important player for us for a long while yet.

Another dimension to this deal which I keep seeing mentioned, is ‘sell-on value’. Any Spurs fan can tell you that this phrase is scarred into the make-up of Daniel Levy’s brain, and it is at the fore-front of his whole business strategy at Tottenham. While this policy has served us fantastically well so far, and turned us from mid-table side, to a side who are consistently in Europe,  it is time for Levy to change. There is only so far he can take us by buying promising players in their early twenties and selling them on for huge fees a few years down the line. Levy will be aware of the enormous fee he is going to receive for Gareth Bale next summer, or maybe even this summer, just like the rest of the Spurs community. With a cash injection of potentially over £80 million coming at some point over the next 13 months, is paying £26 million for a player of Soldado’s proven quality really that much of a risk? I don’t think it is.

In conclusion, we really cannot afford to miss out on Roberto Soldado in my opinion. We have been given a clear ultimatum by Valencia, and if we fail to stump up the cash and he signs for Liverpool or any other club, I fear it will be the ‘final straw’ for the support of Daniel Levy for many of our fans unless he can pull something truly extraordinary out of the bag before the window closes. I personally  We will be missing out on a top-class player and really have our work cut out to sign anybody nearly as good. The ball is in your court Levy, please don’t let us down.

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