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Do Spurs Need to Search for a Superstar Striker?

The Boot Room

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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.

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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.

West Ham United

Signing Yaya Toure is not enough to gain support for West Ham board

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Photo: Getty Images.

West Ham United are believed to be close to appointing former Premier League winning coach Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager, and reports indicate that it could lead to a coup signing in his former player Yaya Toure.

The Telegraph make the claims as they say that previous talks between the Hammers and the free agent broke down, but the appointment of the Chilean would smooth matters and may make a deal more feasible.

In truth, the signing may not actually impress West Ham fans all that much. They have grown used to the signing of players who were dominating the game five years ago and are now past their best. The signings of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta and Patrice Evra over the past year have shown as much with mixed results.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The board are desperately seeking a way to get fans back onside as discontent grows and fans accuse them of not spending sufficiently to back their team and the signing of such a high profile player of immense quality may satisfy those wishes.

That may be the plan, but Yaya Toure made only two Premier League starts in 2017/18 and such a record bares terrifying resemblances to the likes of Andy Carroll, commanding a high wage whilst spending more time in the stands watching on than actually making an impact.

Toure could provide a spark and excitement, there’s no denying that he would be an invigorating addition, but he is not the long-term solution that the club require as fans cry out for players with potential and already at their best. His signing would be a mere distraction.

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Liverpool

Liverpool target Besiktas’ Anderson Talisca would add superb attacking depth

The Brazilian has recorded 28 goal contributions in Turkey this season.

Max Cohen

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Anderson Talisca
Photo: Getty Images

After Besiktas’ 5-1 home win over Sivasspor on Saturday, manager Senol Gunes strongly hinted that star attacker Anderson Talisca would be joining Liverpool this summer.

The possible signing of the Brazilian midfielder would be a superb acquisition for Liverpool, adding depth and quality to the club’s star-studded attack.

According to FourFourTwo, the Besiktas manager confirmed Talisca would be leaving the Turkish club for the Premier League after two years on loan from Benfica.

And Gunes dropped a massive hint that put Liverpool as the possible frontrunners in attaining his signature ahead of Manchester United.

“He might be rivals with Cenk Tosun,” Gunes replied when asked about Talisca’s English destination.

Of course, former Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun plays for Everton– leading many to jump to the conclusion that Talisca is headed to Anfield instead of Old Trafford.

(Photo by Ozan Kose/Getty Images)

The signing would represent a strong statement of intent from the Reds, as Talisca has enjoyed a stunning two seasons at Besiktas and is a burgeoning attacking talent.

In 47 appearances this season, the 24-year-old was involved in an impressive 28 goals, scoring 20 and assisting eight.

And the Brazilian’s past form shows this fantastic season is not a one-off. In 2016/17, Talisca bagged 17 goals and six assists, despite only featuring 33 times in all competitions.

While some might argue that the Turkish Super Lig has a poorer defensive standard than the Premier League, Talisca has proven his worth in European competition as well. In his time at Besiktas, he has notched five Champions League goals, as well as two goals and four assists in the Europa League.

The Brazilian youth international would add impressive offensive depth for Liverpool, as the Reds look to seriously challenge for the Premier League next season.

The purchase of the prolific attacking midfielder would be an ideal first step in assembling a squad that could bring Anfield its first league trophy in over two decades.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham have already identified Eric Dier’s £25 million replacement in Wilmar Barrios

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Photo: Getty Images.

Losing first team regulars may not be a complete surprise to Tottenham and Mauricio Pochettino, and that may why be reports are indicating that the coach has already lined up an alternative to Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama should either move on this summer.

The Sun say that there is still interest in Dier, who will be at the World Cup with England, whilst Wanyama’s struggles with injury may mean that Pochettino looks elsewhere for the role of midfield enforcer.

They believe the target to be Boca Juniors’ 24-year-old holding midfielder Wilmar Barrios, a Colombian international who plays alongside Spurs’ Davinson Sanchez at international level.

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The youngster has become a key man in the Boca Juniors side but, perhaps unusually, has not caught the attention of many in Europe. Barrios has, though, developed a reputation as one of the best players in South America, particularly in his position, as he has become a linchpin protecting his back four.

That is protected in his very impressive stats, which show that he makes on average three tackles per game and 2.8 interceptions per match, compared to the 1.8 tackles and 1.3 interceptions for Dier playing in a very similar role.

Barrios’ intelligent reading of the game has drawn comparisons to Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, with both men guilt of diving into tackles on occasion despite all of their many strengths.

He may be raw, with no experience of playing in Europe, but at £25 million he could prove to be a bargain and Mauricio Pochettino’s return home to go on a shopping spree could provide a long-term solution to the holding midfield role which seems as uncertain as ever after the 2017/18 season.

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