Last season saw Tottenham’s top goalscorer Emmanuel Adebayor hit the target 14 times in all competitions, the lowest of a Spurs top scorer since Robbie Keane and Teddy Sheringham struck 13 goals apiece in the season of 02-03 in which they finished 10th. An issue that was swept under the carpet the previous season under AVB due the phenomenal 26 goals scored by past flame Gareth Bale was the lack of goals from a striker.
Those who had spotted the problem thought they had their prayers answered when Roberto Soldado fresh off the back of scoring 24 goals in La Liga signed, however, despite a promising start with a two penalties scored in his first two games, he became a laughing stock for fans of the opposition and even the Spurs faithful couldn’t defend him anymore.
Emmanuel Adebayor would have certainly scored more than 14 goals had he not been frozen out under Villas-Boas. He got those goals in only 25 appearances which is a fantastic return in a team low on morale and cohesion. Still there are questions over his consistency; however his poor performances have nearly all come under the management of Villas Boas the previous season.
The best thing to come out of the reign of Tim Sherwood was his trust of youth and bringing through the likes of Nabil Bentaleb, Milos Veljkovic and the focus here, Harry Kane. The England U21 international scored 3 goals in 10 appearances, 6 of which were starts, raising real fresh hope for the future among Spurs supporters in a disappointing season where some fans strangely hoped they would finish 7th to avoid Europa League duty. Kane is compared to Sheringham, dropping deep and linking up play despite his larger frame but does have the aerial ability that is expected of a man his size. He is clearly a promising striker but ready to lead the line every week, it doesn’t seem so.
Courtesy of Squawka Comparison Matrix
Based on last season’s performances in the Premier League Adebayor and Kane have a similar goal per 90 minutes percentage, however, Soldado’s is worryingly low and in stark contrast to his 0.74 from his previous season in La Liga. Kane’s total shots are incredibly high compared to the others, benefitting from the cavalier aspect of Sherwood’s tactics and a more fortunate run of fixtures in which he played. Again Soldado’s shot accuracy is less than half of the others which will come to no surprise to fans who witnessed some appalling efforts. All made a similar amount of chances created and in particular Soldado has been praised by fans for his really good link up play with some fantastic touches, reminding fans of the potential the obviously technically brilliant Spaniard has.
In pre season all have scored goals, Adebayor 2 in 2, Soldado 3 in 5 and Kane 2 in 4. Adebayor started the only game at White Hart Lane on Saturday against Schalke but the performance was significantly less impressive than those with Soldado upfront. The link up play of Soldado, Lamela, Eriksen, Lennon and Holtby has been highly praised by fans and has them excited for the oncoming season.
However, many expect Adebayor to start the first game away to West Ham and although his scoring record is undoubtedly strong, his suitability to the Pochettino style is not that of Soldado who often shows willingness to close down, hassle defenders, bring those around him into the game and work the channels like he did against his now manager’s Southampton, bumping Lovren off the ball and claiming an assist from a great cross to Eriksen.
It is unlikely though unless one of the three dramatically improves their quality and/or consistency then chances of troubling the top five are low this season. Something fans are aware of and many are calling for the signing of Wilfried Bony. The Ivoirian’s 16 goals in the league last season for struggling Swansea has really caught the eye of the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool and he is probably open to a move having most likely gone to Swansea to work with Laudrup. Bony can hold the ball up well, like Lambert did at the Saints and bring into play the likes of Lamela and Eriksen, also being able to play on the last shoulder which will also work in Pochettino’s fast tempo philosophy particularly with Cristian Eriksen’s passing ability.
All those around Tottenham have a top quality striker, Chelsea have now signed Costa and even Everton have confirmed Lukaku permanently. Unless Pochettino believes he can get the very best out of at least one of them at the Lane, particularly Soldado, then someone like Bony or Remy is a must for Spurs. However, the potential amongst the three strikers they already have is undoubted but it will be down to Poch to turn one of them into a 20 goal a season striker, one that Tottenham need to challenge for top four once again.