Even if Gareth Bale goes, Spurs look healthy

Real Madrid target is the dominant story but in Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli, Tottenham have already bought well.



With all the masses of column inches currently being devoted to the future of Gareth Bale it has almost gone unnoticed that Tottenham have been quietly going about the makings of a very satisfactory transfer window. Of course, just how satisfactory will be determined by whether Bale stays or goes; presumably we will learn more about Real Madrid’s intentions over the coming days although as yet, while astronomical figures plus various possible player makeweights are being bandied about seemingly willy-nilly, it appears that no actual bid has been received by Spurs.

The signing of the Brazilian international midfielder Paulinho has already provoked some very positive reviews from me in a previous blog – and since then the club have acted efficiently to add two new names to their attacking department.

This week Spurs smashed their transfer record by paying up the £26m release clause of Valencia’s Spain international Roberto Soldado. There’s little doubt that this is a big investment for a 28-year-old with very limited or no resale value but, considering the huge sums paid for international top forwards this summer, such a mega-deal now seems par for the course for a high-scoring striker from a top European league.

It could be too that Spurs sense there’s a big chance now to catch up with the top four; though Chelsea and, especially, Manchester City have predictably spent huge money already, Arsenal and Manchester United seem to be struggling to capture their targets and Levy hopes splashing the cash will give Spurs an extra edge over their rivals in red.

Certainly their latest signing should prosper in a side that tends to enjoy plenty of possession and control of the ball in their attacking third. Compared with the similarly aged Alvaro Negredo – who cost Manchester City £6m less but outscored the new Spurs man by one league goal last campaign – Soldado is quicker and more agile. While they’re both aggressive and quick on the trigger inside the penalty area, Soldado, with his direct, relentless movement and pace can cause more damage on the break, whereas the left-footed Manchester City centre-forward offers more of a holding-up game.

Arguably not the most elegant front man, the former Valencia striker is always likely to go for power before delicate precision and, though he’s sometimes criticised for his streaks of inconsistency, Spurs have signed a determined, strong-minded forward with plenty of personality.

Many clubs – English as well as European – have been monitoring the 24-year-old at Twente over the past year, some leaving Enschede with glowing reports on an explosive winger with good technical ability, others remaining perplexed over Chadli’s occasional tendency to drift in and out of games and slightly worrying recent injury record (he missed a quarter of each of the past two seasons through injuries).

A right-footed wide player who operates mainly on the left, the Belgian of Moroccan origins combines lightning pace – especially when finding space to stretch his long legs over 20-30 metres – with unpredictability in one-on-one situations and a finely calibrated shot on goal as his most eye-catching forte. Though ostensibly signed to be initially a squad player, the £7m Chadli is well-suited to André Villas-Boas’s attacking schemes and provides the Portuguese head coach with another creative alternative going forward.

The sale of Caulker (incidentally another fine capture by Cardiff) leaves the squad with just three out-and-out central defenders, which inevitably forces the club back on to the market in search of an upgraded replacement.

One such option may be the Romanian international Vlad Chiriches. According to reports in Romania, the Steaua Bucharest player – who enjoyed a fine Europa League campaign last season – is said to have been very close to joining Spurs before the £7m bid was turned down at the last minute by Steaua’s incarcerated club boss, Gigi Becali.

Source: ESPN


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