With recent performances done to death, I thought it could be a good time to take a look at the summer talent (don’t laugh!) and whether some or all of the players should be persevered with.
Starting at the back, Vlad Chririches hasn’t proved to be everyone’s cup of tea, but despite the odd flash of overconfidence and lack of height to snuff out dangerous corners, for me he’s been one of the better buys.
The Romanian captain also isn’t afraid to take the ball out of the defensive area, giving confidence to those players further up the pitch, and his passing accuracy stands at a decent 88%.
So, for me, he is a keeper. Especially with Daws coming to the end of his career, Kaboul unlikely to go a season without spending time on the casualty list and Jan Vertonghen reportedly dreaming of a future at the Camp Nou.
Into midfield, and as I mentioned in an earlier article, Etienne Capoue has shown glimpses of being a decent back-up when Sandro is unavailable. Yet like so many of the new arrivals, he appears to be lacking in confidence, which has negatively affected a number of his performances.
Still, he is only 24 so again he is a keeper…for now.
An even younger prospect is Nabil Bentaleb (or ‘TS’ love-child’, as coined by several Spurs-Web regulars). Although not exactly a new signing, he joined the Spurs academy in 2012 and has become a regular face in the starting 11 for the first time in this campaign.
There is no doubting that he has shown flashes of good skill, but for me starting a player this young is sending out the wrong kind of message to more established players in the squad, many of whom are fully fledged and experienced internationals. Yes, he certainly has a future with us and judging by his reactions on those rare occasions we’ve breached the back of the net this season he is committed to the cause. That said, he is bench material at best. A better option would have been to recall Jake Livermore or better still, Tom Carroll.
In my opinion, the biggest waste of the Bale money has been Nacer Chadli (though Soldado is in a photo finish with him). He may look the part, but for a winger he lacks pace and we all know how important that is in the PL. He doesn’t instil any confidence, so has to go. At least, at just 23 we should be able to recoup our initial outlay of £7m.
Of all the signings last year Paulinho was the one I was most excited about. The box-to-box midfielder has 25 caps for his native Brazil, with five goals to his name, but sadly looks to be another lacking in confidence and is no doubt amazed Bentaleb is starting ahead of him.
The 25-year-old has looked lackadaisical on numerous occasions this year and is probably finding the pace of the PL rather daunting. I’m sure he could be offloaded for more than the £17m paid for him, but it’s unlikely we will try to sell and I’m hoping with this season under his belt he can prove the class act he is, possibly under a new regime next year. Another keeper.
The big unknown is Erik Lamela. Granted, the youngster has had plenty of personal issues to deal with since arriving at The Lane, but the ridiculous price tag for someone that could be deemed a one-season wonder for Roma means recouping our outlay for him would be nigh on impossible.
At just 22 years of age he has to be persevered with at least into next season. Who knows, under a top-class manager such as Van Gaal, Lamela could well prove to be a top signing. It’s a big “if” I know, but let’s give him another season to prove himself, as he has been given scant amount of playing time. A keeper.
The star of the summer signings has to be Christian Eriksen. The Dane endured a shaky start with us, but has enjoyed a new lease on life under Sherwood. He’s a class act, giving us a poor man’s version to Bale in terms of free-kicks (though Ronaldo aside, who wouldn’t?)
Booed for being subbed against the Scum last Sunday, he has become a fan favourite and is an obvious keeper. One negative is that he isn’t the biggest and can get outmuscled. Also, by putting in a good shift, he has been seen to tire with 15-20 minutes to play.
Although not a summer signing, Lewis Holtby joined in January last year and was, to me, surprisingly loaned out to Fulham. The German at least has the right attitude, is committed and has established himself as a fan favourite at Craven Cottage. Is he good enough to play on a regular basis for Spurs? It’s not an easy one to answer, but for me he is a good back up player, and like several others, is still young. A keeper.
That just leaves Soldado, who probably along with Lamela, is the one seemingly lacking most in confidence.
For one that found goal scoring coming so naturally to him in La Liga, the Spaniard has had a torrid first season in the PL. I remember shaking my head on news of his £26m move from Valencia. After all, at 28 we were hardly building for the future with him. How many strikers in the Premiership are still at the top of their game at, say 30? Drogba, Van Persie. Not many, and those two at least started in the PL aged 25 and 21, respectively.
So, even if he had of hit the ground running we’d probably be only looking at two good years with him. A shocking buy, as much as I do believe he will score goals under a better manager, who can nurture his talent.
The problem is, how much would we get for him now? £10-15m, if lucky. We either bring in another, hopefully younger, established striker or hope he starts hitting the back of the net next term. If we get Van Gaal, then he is a keeper.
Just a quick footnote for those of you that didn’t see Monday’s Evening Standard. The quotes from Jan Vertonghen, if to be believed, make grim reading. “We’ve stood still this season, whereas many of our rivals at the top of the division have become better,” said the Belgian.
He went on: “We haven’t improved on last year. I don’t want to look at the table at the moment, as I think the gap will look very big. What needs to happen in the summer? That’s something for the chairman and the manager.”
“I think we have the players for Champions League, so I hope we can achieve it next year.”
Here’s the killer, “I’ll try to do anything until the end of the season for the club. It’s an unbelievable club and I’m happy to play here so I’ll leave it at that.” That last quote could obviously be left open to interpretation, but has “ta, ta” written all over it to me.
I know many of you have slated his attitude of late. Having been in raptures with his arrival at Spurs, his attitude when all went awry this year has been disappointing to say the least. But, if we are going to build a team for the future, he and Hugo Lloris are two players we need to keep.
Again, being under different guidance (yes, that man Van Gaal) should bring out the best in the squad, though I’m in no way condoning lapse attitudes from any of the players when things get tough.
I think most Spurs supporters agree that some guidance is needed on the field. Someone that will galvanise the others around him and show leadership skills that will lift us from the current gloom.
Apart from a good kick up the backside, what is the team missing at present? If you could bring in just one leader (within reason) who would it be?
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