After a highly impressive season with AZ Alkmaar, Vincent Janssen has been subject to bids from Pochettino’s Tottenham, according to reports, as Spurs look to build on their impressive third place finish, and with their first season back in the Champions League since 2010/11 on the horizon. Despite the fact the 22-year-old was relatively unknown at the start of the season, his remarkable rise has meant it is looking increasingly likely Janssen will be the man that Pochettino buys to bolster his one-man strike force.
After being released from Feyenoord as a youngster, Janssen had to rebuild his career in the second step of Dutch football at Almere City. Almere City, although not well known outside of Holland, have given the stepping stone for players such as Nordin Amrabat of Watford and Oussama Assaidi, formerly of Liverpool. After two seasons, in which Janssen scored 32 goals for Almere, Janssen earned himself a move back to the Eredivisie with AZ Alkmaar. Janssen struggled initially, before really finding his stride to become the top scorer in his first season, scoring 27 goals. As a result of his form, he made his debut for the Dutch national team, and has scored 3 in 5, including a penalty at Wembley in their 2-1 success.
Janssen has been lauded by the national press, even receiving comparisons to Ruud Van Nistelrooy and being heralded as giving Holland hope after not reaching the Euros by some Dutch experts. In the 27 goals he has scored this season, there has been a real mixture in the types of goals scored. He is a capable penalty taker, alongside being strong in the air and being able to score with both feet. On top of his evident technical ability, Janssen has been praised for his work rate and attitude to the game, something which is very important for Pochettino when making a signing, as it is imperative any potential signings are going to fit into his footballing philosophy. Janssen’s desire for the game and work rate is not only preferential to Pochettino, as Janssen is only 22 and Pochettino will be able to push him to his potential, as he has done with many players at Tottenham and Southampton.
Janssen cannot be considered a player who only scores in games against small teams. His performance against England and subsequent performances for the national team, and his hat trick against Feyenoord in January show as much. As Tottenham look to progress in the Champions League, and better their league performance, this will be important as they will have someone to turn to with added quality when Kane is not performing. Janssen will be a vast improvement on Son and Chadli, who are not out and out strikers, and he will also give Kane direct competition, which can only be beneficial. At times last year, Tottenham were found out in having no alternative plan to breaking down teams, especially ones who were prepared to sit deep, as seen in losses to Newcastle and Leicester at home. Janssen has all the attributes to be the man that could be central to a different style that Tottenham could try to play at times when games aren’t going their way.
Unfortunately for Janssen, his path to be Tottenham’s first choice striker is blocked. Harry Kane, brought through from the academy and holding the fans adoration, will continue to be first choice striker on the back of his 2015/16 season which saw him claim golden boot with 25 goals in the league. But previous coaches, such as Fred Grim, a coach at Almere City during Janssen’s time there, believes he has the ‘right mentality’, which suggests that he will be willing to work for his place in the first team. However, Janssen can expect to play a big role in games coming off the bench in the league and champions league, and games when Kane needs to be rotated, and if he performs to the levels he did at AZ Alkmaar, there is nothing stopping Janssen challenging Kane for his position.
If Janssen signs for Tottenham as expected, and replicates the form that has seen him attract the attention of not only Tottenham, but also PSG, then Janssen, alongside Kane, could become the most feared striking partnership in the Premier League.
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