Ask a Spurs fan what their team needed most at the beginning of the summer transfer window and the answer was strikers. Lots of strikers.
Jermain Defoe was the only established one on the books, Emmanuel Adebayor wouldn’t make his loan deal from the previous season permanent until August 21, and deadline day would only see the addition of Clint Dempsey, more attacking midfielder than striker, join the ranks.
That left Tottenham a little light upfront, and with youngster Harry Kane loaned out to Norwich City, there appeared little margin for dips in form, injuries and suspensions.
Defoe hit the ground running, scoring 13 goals before Christmas. Adebayor has struggled, picking up thrice as many goals (3) as red cards (1) and failing to find form anywhere near the level of his loan spell. Dempsey has weighed in with eight goals, including the winner at Old Trafford against Manchester United, but 21 goals combined from your strike force as we enter February shows where Tottenham’s main problems lie.
The deadline day move for Leandro Damiao was never likely to come off – after eighteen months fruitless pursuing, the thought the deal would be concluded with literally hours to go before the window shut was, at best, optimistic, at worst, delusional.
With Adebayor away at the African Cup of Nations with Togo, Spurs were relying on Defoe and Dempsey to see them through. In that time Tottenham have scored three times in four games (including two individual strikes from Gareth Bale) despite dominating possession against Queens Park Rangers, Manchester United, and West Bromwich Albion.
Defoe’s ankle injury fortunately coincides with Adebayor’s return, but if the ex-Arsenal and Manchester City striker does not show a desire to perform which has been largely absent this season, then Tottenham could be in real danger of slipping out of the Champions League positions.
The Chairman should be applauded for bringing Lewis Holtby, the Germany U21 captain, who looks a fine addition, but the striker situation was a problem in the summer and arguably last January as well, when Louis Saha became the epitome of a stop-gap solution.
With Defoe now out injured, Tottenham are in danger of missing out on the lucrative Champions League, and if they fail to make it, Daniel Levy will have no one to blame but himself.
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