It has been one of the longest transfer sagas of the summer so far, but Tottenham Hotspur finally appear to be closing in on the signing of AZ Alkmaar and Netherlands centre forward Vincent Janssen. The striker will cost Mauricio Pochettino’s side around £17 million, a fairly large investment for a striker who has only played one season in the Eredivisie, having spent the rest of his young career in Holland’s lower leagues, which suggests that Spurs are planning on making the most of having Janssen in the side.
But just how prominent will his role be? Does the investment in Janssen suggest that Spurs are planning to play two strikers up front, or is it just a representation of the current state of Premier League finances that a squad player costs so much money and the Dutchman is merely a back-up?
The answer is most likely the latter. Coming into a Spurs side riding the wave of a best-ever Premier League season, it is unlikely that Pochettino will be changing the nature of the side too much. The Argentinian manager has played one striker up front with three players supporting throughout his whole time in England, both with Southampton and now at White Hart Lane. This is unlikely to change over the upcoming season.
Then there’s Janssen himself. He is a striker very much in the mould of Spurs’ undisputed number one Harry Kane, who will not be dropped from the team at the start of the season despite a turgid Euros campaign with England. Kane would have to consistently show the dire form he showed in France to get dropped for Janssen. It will likely be one of the other.
So could Pochettino change the system to accomodate Kane and Janssen together? Well, if the Dutchman hits form at the start of the season, the manager will be facing calls to put him in the starting 11, but a partnership with Kane just doesn’t look like the way forward for Spurs, simply because the strikers are too similar.
Both a physically strong, excellent finishers, combining all of the benefits of being a target man without the drawbacks of a lack of mobility. However, whilst they both get around the pitch well and pass the ball excellently, they are just too similar to form a proper strike partnership. There would be a lack of potency and true pace to get in behind defenders, and too many strikers would limit the space in the middle for the likes of Dele Alli, Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen.
Janssen is a very good all-round striker, but he has almost certainly been targeted as a back-up to Kane rather than a partner. His similarities to Spurs’ number one forward suggest that he will be brought in to allow Spurs to play the same style even when fielding a weakened side. He will be a capable back-up, but not a partner to Kane.
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