By Kaustav Bera
In spite of being under constant scrutiny as to whether the Welsh prodigy Gareth Bale could be kept in London, Andre Villas-Boas armed along with Franco Baldini and the astute Daniel Levy has completed some good business in the massively inflated and frankly ridiculous summer transfer market.
Compare that to reigning Premier League champions, Manchester United and more importantly, fierce rivals Arsenal and you can see that Tottenham have built a fantastic team. Some calculated buys from the Lilywhites means that they now possess two quality players in almost every position.
Take for example the already talented midfield of Sandro, Moussa Dembele, Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson which has been reinforced with Paulinho and Etiene Capoue. While Paulinho impressed all with his display in the Confederations Cup, being the driving force for the eventual champions, Capoue was a longtime target for Arsene Wenger reportedly.
Wenger’s indecision was Tottenham’s gain as they snapped up the defensive midfielder who is equally comfortable playing at centre-back as well as dominating midfield. For the record, he had six interceptions in 33 minutes against Crystal Palace in the first Premier League match, which was more than what West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United and Sunderland could collectively manage in their games!
We got Soldado | Spurs have landed another fox in the box
More importantly what came in the way of Tottenham being true title challengers was the lack of a quality striker to lead the line. This was effectively met when Roberto Soldado was snatched away from Valencia for a club record fee. In Soldado, they have a striker who can pump in 30 goals in a season, something which an inconsistent Emmanuel Adebayor failed to produce last season while Jermaine Defoe's play as a lone striker was never up to the mark.
Soldado can make a nuisance of himself inside the penalty area while possessing the ability to score spectacular goals as well to go along with his intelligent movement. He's the perfect man up front to compliment the array of pacy wingers and explosive midfielders at Tottenham’s disposal.
On top of that, Villas-Boas also succeeded in shifting out the dead weight in the team which might have created problems for his youthful set up with the likes of William Gallas, Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone asked to pack their bags.
While selling the impressive Steven Caulker might have not been the best idea as Spurs look a bit short changed in central defense, but with the addition of the versatile Capoue and and the proposed signing of Vlad Chiriches, that aspect is taken care of.
Villas-Boas has also managed to unearth some jewels from the youth system as Danny Rose looks a perfect fit at left-back after his successfull loan spell at Sunderland and Kyle Naughton can provide ample competition to Kyle Walker on the other side of defense.
Another player whose loan spell did wonders for him was Andros Townsend who can play on either wing and as evidence by his one man showing against Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League, he has all the qualities needed to edge out Aaron Lennon from the team.
Not irreplaceable | Neither at Tottenham nor at Madrid
Coming back to the Bale saga, although Levy and co. looked completely uninterested to let him go, no matter how ridiculous the offer might be from Real Madrid, but a world record fee of €93 million seemed to have changed their minds. What was interesting in their approach to combat this situation was that they had managed to identify potential replacements and made it a point to secure them before letting their their star campaigner go.
This resulted in Tottenham pursuing the duo of the Danish dynamo, Christian Eriksen and the prodigiously talented, Erik Lamela who has signed for the club this week to add to the squad in addition to Nacer Chadli.
Naturally the loss of Bale would be almost impossible to fill as he was the spark that was needed when Spurs were unable to break down teams, but if there was any way to recuperate from that, this had to be it. In Erik Lamela, Spurs will get one of the most exciting prospects in world football pretty much in the Bale mould having really prospered under Zdenek Zeman scoring 15 goals and assisting 5 in 30 starts for the Giallorossi.
Being three years younger than the Premier League’s Player of the Year means that there is nothing stopping him from surpassing his compatriot and while he's not at that level yet, the fact is that with the players Tottenham now have, he doesn't need to be.
The impressive Eriksen has made massive inroads in the Ajax as well as the Danish national team becoming an integral part of the title winning side last season. The diminutive attacking midfielder might not have the biggest physical presence but more than makes up for it with his vast repertoire of tricks. In spite of questions as to whether he might fit into the Premier League, the acquisition of Eriksen will instead be a stepping stone to Spurs' desires of contending for the league title.
With or without you, Bale
With almost two class players in every position, Tottenham’s squad depth can only be possibly matched by Manchester City. Even though the Citizens can boast four top quality strikers, but with Villas-Boas using a one striker formation, Defoe and Adebayor are perfectly capable of providing that bit extra when they come off the bench if Soldado fails to deliver (a rare sight for the Valencia man who had scored 27 goals in all competitions last season). In fact Soldado has already scored four times in three matches for them.
With Bale seemingly poised to sign for Real Madrid, Spurs look equipped enough to give the top clubs a run for their money and a place in next season's Champions League now seems like a minimum objective.
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