The difference between Tottenham Hotspur and a top four finish this season was a top-level striker.
The absence of a world-class striker was glaringly evident throughout the season, as Spurs were over-dependant on PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale for goals.
Neither Emmanuel Adebayor nor Jermain Defoe looked the part of a quality striker, increasing the pressure on Bale. In fact, Spurs have not had a single consistent striker since the days when Dimitar Berbatov plied his trade for the north Londoners.
Finally realizing that cutting the corners will not work again for Tottenham, with other teams also rebuilding this season, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is finally on the market looking for a top quality striker.
And there has been no dearth of names associated with Spurs over the last few weeks. However, by far the most frequently heard names are those of David Villa, Roberto Soldado and Leandro Damiao. In this article, we look at who would present the best piece of business for Spurs.
The Spanish striker is easily one of the most talented strikers in the world. Having repeatedly proved himself on the highest stage, Villa could be an ideal fit at Tottenham.
Equally adept at scoring himself as well as holding the ball up to let his teammates join the attack, the Spanish attacker is probably the player most likely to fire immediately among the abovementioned three strikers.
However, at 31 Villa does not have as many years left in him as Damiao or Soldado. At best, Tottenham can expect three years of top quality football from the Spaniard following which age will inevitably catch up with him.
But at 12 million pounds, he will be considerably cheaper than the other two strikers. So, even though the former Valencia man fulfils Tottenham's immediate need, both Soldado and Damiao are better than 'El Guaje' in the long term.
Whether Villa is the best option for the club depends on the priorities set by Daniel Levy and Andre Villas-Boas, as to the balance that needs to be achieved now and for the future.
The Brazil international is one of the most coveted strikers on the market, with many clubs chasing his signature. The 23-year-old is undoubtedly talented, both at scoring as well as carving out chances for his teammates.
Damiao has the added advantage of his youth, and could become the ideal package for the future. The top scorer at the 2012 Olympics, his excellent close control and finishing make him a massive threat in the opposition penalty box.
His 6'2" frame also makes him a reasonable aerial threat as well. But for all his talent, Damiao still has not proved himself at the highest level, and has been out of form for the better part of last season. This means that if immediate results are a must, then Damiao is a massive risk to take, especially considering that Spurs are not working on a huge budget.
But at £16 million, Damiao might prove to be good business, especially because he is young. However, if immediate results are being chased, Soldado and Villa are less risk free options.
Spanish international Soldado is an established performer for Valencia having been the teams top scorer for the last three La Liga campaigns.
This season has probably been the forward's best yet, and at 27 he is just about hitting his peak.
A tireless worker who is adept at both running in between the channels as well as getting holding the ball up, Soldado has a penchant for being in the right place at the right time.
A classical poacher, Soldado is also good in the air despite his 5'11" frame. This makes Soldado the perfect fit for Spurs, and Tottenham fans would be relishing the opportunity to combine the Spaniard with this years Premier League layer of the year Gareth Bale, as the Spaniard will be more than capable of finishing off the chances that Bale creates.
The former Getafe man also presents a better option for the future than compatriot Villa, and therefore Soldado should be the striker highest up in the priority list for Tottenham.
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