Spurs Summer Targets – A Roundup

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Image: SpursWeb

Compared to last year’s Bale bankrolled bonanza shopping spree Daniel Levy’s chequebook is seeing a lot less action this summer. For many Spurs supporters this might come as something of a relief, while most fans harbour a Football Manager inspired desire for constant transfer window drama and a never ending conveyor belt of exotic foreign talent to get excited about there’s also a widely felt sense that Spurs may benefit from a bit more stability this summer.

Ultimately this summer’s activity will depend on what Mauricio Pochettino makes of the squad he’s inherited. Most fans will have fairly strong ideas about the areas of the team that need addressing most urgently but there’s also a chance that the new coach can coax something extra out of existing players. If Pochettino can oversee the emergence of Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado  (and to a lesser extent Nacer Chadli, Vlad Chiriches and Paulinho) after disappointing debut seasons the potential impact will be at least equal to that of a raft of shiny new signings.

Nonetheless there will almost certainly be a few big name arrivals this summer so here’s our rundown of the names that are most strongly linked to Spurs right now, complete with the bookies take on their chances of a switch to White Hart Lane courtesy of the Betfair website.

Defence

Spurs are not short of centre backs right now but after a succession of calamitous defensive performances last season there is a creeping sense that quality is lacking. Younes Kaboul has all the attributes to be one of the most complete central defenders in the country but injuries left him looking depleted and frequently shaky last season. While the big Frenchman might still emerge as a top class centre back it’s clear that he can’t be relied on as a week-in-week-out starter just yet. Last season was also a rocky one for Michael Dawson. The stalwart defender is hugely popular around the club and universally admired for the passion and spirit he brings to the team but there’s also a strong suspicion that he lacks the pace and technique required at the top level, especially if Spurs continue to play a high line. Vlad Chiriches meanwhile showed glimpses of exceptional talent last season but gave the overall impression of needing more time to adapt his relaxed ball-playing style to the hurly burly of the Premier League.

It looks likely that a top-class centre back will be one of Spurs’ key transfer targets this summer and many feel that a strong, dependable figure to partner Jan Vertonghen – who, for all his ability, can look a bit lightweight – is required. After missing out on Dejan Lovren to Liverpool the chief candidate appears to be Ron Vlaar (4/1), who impressed at the World Cup and would bring solid Premier League experience to the backline. There’s competition for the Dutchman however and Aston Villa will be reluctant to let their captain go.

Roma’s highly rated Moroccan centre back Mehdi Benatia is another reported target but after a accomplished season in Seria A might be beyond Spurs’ reach with the likes Real Madrid and Man City reportedly readying their chequebooks.

Reports suggest that highly rated young Nottingham Forest centre-back Jamaal Lascelles (evens) is being lined up. He looks a promising addition and could be useful in boosting home-grown numbers, even if he may not be ready to go straight into the first team.

Argentina’s Marcos Rojo is another defender who caught the eye at the World Cup where he featured at left back. The Sporting Lisbon man can also play as a central defender and could be a useful utility option, especially give Spurs’ relative lack of left-back options. Despite the arrival of Ben Davies from Swansea rumours suggest that Danny Rose is unwilling to play backup and might be on his way so reinforcements might be welcome in that area. The mooted loan acquisition of Portuguese left-back Miguel Lopes would also add depth and competition to a problem position but might equally herald the departure of Kyle Naughton.

Midfield

Of Pochettino’s former Southampton charges Morgan Schneiderlin seems to be the player he’s most keen to bring to White Hart Lane, despite Spurs being overburdened with defensive midfielders. Nonetheless the addition of Schneiderlin – who many Southampton fans considered to be their most important player last season – could be an effective way of disseminating Pochetinno’s tactical approach from the heart of the pitch. The Frenchman’s passing ability is also superior to the likes of Sandro and Dembele who may struggle to fit the quick passing style of play favoured by the new coach.

Despite Southampton’s determination to keep him, Schneidelin is reportedly very keen to follow his ex-boss to North London (as his recent twitter outburst seems to prove) and the likelihood of him be able to force a move is backed up by the bookies who have slashed the odds on the move to 2/17.

If improving distribution in the midfield is a priority for Pochettino there are few better deep lying string pullers that Andrea Pirlo and while it’s a link that could easily be laughed off Spurs did try for the veteran schemer last year and the arrival of Massimo Allegri is rumoured to have unsettled him. He’s also said to get on well with Franco Baldini and the bookies currently have Spurs as 6/1 second favourites to land him this summer. Stranger things have happened…

If another central midfielder does come in it wouldn’t be a surprise to see one of the incumbent central midfielders move on. Fan favourite Sandro has struggled for fitness lately and persistent rumours suggest that a move to Italy – potentially Napoli – might be on the cards. His Brazilian compatriot Paulinho failed to make a great impression last season and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him shipped out if an offer comes in that matches the £17 million Spurs paid for him last season.

Attack

Early indications suggest that Spurs will stick with Roberto Soldado this season and it’s easy to imagine that Levy would be loath to let the Spanish striker go for significantly less that the £26 million he arrived for last season, a figure it’s hard to conceive of anyone paying based on recent form. If Pochettino can get more out of Soldado and Adebayor continues the form that saw his return to favour under Tim Sherwood then, together with the promising Harry Kane, Spurs will not be short of options in the central striker position. There are risks attached to commencing the season without reinforcements in that area however so it’s no surprise that there have been plenty of strikers linked to Spurs over the summer.

Two of the most widely reported targets, Belgian pair Romelu Lukaku and Divock Origi, have ended up in Merseyside, signing for Everton and Liverpool respectively. It would not be a surprise to see Spurs go back for yet another big Belgian forward, Christian Benteke (2/1), although he remains injured going into the new season. Alternatively Swansea’s Wilfred Bony (2/1) offers a similar target man skillset but a big fee might be required.

Roma’s Mattia Destro would be a more leftfield addition up front but has been linked in recent days and any links to Roma players are given added credibility by Baldini’s strong links to the club. The Italian has suffered injury setbacks lately but is extremely highly rated in Italy where many consider him one of this generation’s most naturally gifted strikers. He would certainly add goalscoring potency to the Spurs attack.

With many wondering if Andros Townsend, Aaron Lennon and Nacer Chadli can cut the mustard (not to mention the possibility that Erik Lamela might not come good) a number of wide attackers have also been linked to a White Hart lane switch in recent weeks. Pochettino seems keen on a reunion with Jay Rodriguez although, as with Schneiderlin, Southampton will be loath to sacrifice yet another of last season’s leading lights and the price might not be right even if the England international does fancy the switch.

Memphis Depay impressed many at the World Cup and has been linked with a move from PSV, as has his teammate and fellow wide-man Zakaria Bakalli. Both would bring flair and huge potential but lack experience and might not make an immediate impact. Yevhen Konoplyanka (10/1) of Dnipro is another pacey winger with quick feet and reports suggest that he would be available for somewhere in the region of £12 million. West Ham, Liverpool and Man Utd are all given a better chance than Spurs of securing the Ukrainian’s signature however.

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