It’s not been a glorious period for Dutch football since Louis Van Gaal steered them to 3rd place at the 2014 World Cup. Failure to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals and the passing of national icon Johan Cruyff have been followed by a WCQ campaign that can, at best, be described as bitterly disappointing. Even Van Gaal himself has suffered after a much-maligned spell as Manchester United Manager. However, the 3-1 victory last night against Bulgaria has given the Oranje a much-needed boost in trying to secure their place at Russia 2018. Sadly though, for our own Vincent Janssen, the game has reflected the belief of a growing number of Spurs fans that he will never make the grade and be a regular player for the club. A 90-minute goalless display (coupled with another scoreless game against France) hasn’t given Spurs fans much optimism that his 2nd season will provide much different results than his first. So therefore, was the decision to stay during the recently closed transfer window the best choice for player and team?
Firstly, I want it on the record that I really do like Vinny. He’s a tryer. And we Spurs fans (and indeed, football fans in general) love a tryer. It’s all too easy to make the inevitable comparisons to Roberto Soldado but there are some worrying parallels. Both came in with big reputations and taken the number 9 shirt, had fantastic scoring records in their respective European leagues, can only score from penalties for Spurs and have both given their 100% in trying to please fans who have been so patient with them. At the moment though, it looks like Janssen will head the same way as Bobby (that is, through the exit door) If you watch footage of their performances for Spurs, they are very identical. Excellent hold up and link play but just either woefully unlucky or just unable to find the back of the net, unless it’s from 12 yards that is…
Back to back games with 0 goals for his country highlight the barren run that Vinny is currently on (and makes everyday I bought the Janssen 9 shirt at the start of last season look like a wasted investment) and naturally, many have taken to Twitter to comment about his inability to find the net and how he should have jumped ship to Brighton when he had the chance. The failed move to Brighton is an interesting one as I have heard differing stories about why it broke down (left too late, Spurs only wanted to sell and not loan, player wanted to stay etc.) but if the latter is true, it looks an incredibly short-sighted move on Janssen’s part.
Think about the scenario: You’re behind the number one striker in the PL, haven’t exactly set the league alight with your first year’s performances and now they’ve signed a brand new proven striker on Deadline Day as backup when suddenly a newly promoted team who appears desperately goal-shy comes in for you on a possible loan deal. Surely, it’s a no-brainer? Alright, you may have to miss out on elite European football for one season but you’re guaranteed regular game time, have a manager who is ex-Spurs and knows what it takes to succeed at the club and even if you don’t score for a couple of games, there are little alternatives to replace you. And best of all, if it is a loan deal, you’ll go back to Spurs at the end of the season and won’t have to go down to the Championship if Brighton don’t manage to survive. Win-Win right?
I have to admit, I think I’m answering my own question already but it’s important to maintain a semblance of an opposing argument so I shall construct one. Firstly, he’s only 23. I know that’s not exactly fresh out the blocks but he’s still young enough to improve and grow if given the proper time to develop. Secondly, he’s playing under of the best coaches in world football at developing players and helping them reach their potential. Seriously, who would’ve thought 3/4 years ago that Kyle Walker would become a £50 million player? Yes, that is also down to a hugely inflated market but still, Poch has made Walker what he is and can make Vinny better, hence a potential reason he may have rejected the move to Brighton. Even if you don’t play regularly under Poch, its clear that he has the skill to improve players beyond their current level. Thirdly, even though it may limit his playing time severely, it isn’t hard to properly blame him for not wanting to go into a relegation dogfight when he could potentially be playing at Wembley every other week and participating in magical European nights against the likes of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. A trip to Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup hardly stacks up, does it? And finally…umm…no matter where he plays, Holland are so poor that he’s still their number one striker? There’s a chance Harry’s August jinx continues into September? Poch decides to throw out all previous formations and plays him up next to Kane/Llorente?
As you can tell, I’m clutching at straws just a little.
In conclusion, Vinny is here to stay till January at least so maybe we’ll get a chance to see what’s made of over the coming Autumn/Winter months. Maybe he should’ve gone to Brighton/Stoke/West Brom and given the surprise capture of Llorente, I can see him potentially rueing that decision as he sits on the bench and wonders whether he’ll be doomed to be bracketed with the likes of with Roberto Soldado, Sergei Rebrov and Grzegorz Rasiak. However, I’ve always been a big supporter of giving foreign players at least a second season to get to grips with the Premier League so in that aspect, I’m delighted that Vinny is getting another chance to prove his worth to Tottenham and make sure I can wear my personalised Janssen top with pride, and not the mocking and teasing that I’ve had to ensure thus far.
It’s a slim hope but let’s Dare to Dream, right? COYS!
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