Football

Andre Villas-Boas: The right man for Tottenham

Villas-Boas has committed his future to Tottenham (©GettyImages)
Villas-Boas has committed his future to Tottenham (©GettyImages).

The last few weeks have seen intense activity in the transfer market from many of England's biggest cubs. 

Manchester United - under new manager David Moyes - have secured the signature of young Uruguayan right-back Guilleme Varela, and have been strongly linked with the likes of Thiago Alcantara, the Barcelona-based captain of the recently-crowned Under-21 European Champions Spain, and Dutch national team regular Kevin Strootman. 

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea have signed German winger Andre Schurrle, and are rumoured to be heavily interested in Napoli striker Edinson Cavani

Arsenal have been linked with ex-Real Madrid and River Plate striker Gonzalo Higuain, and look set to spend a large chunk of their reported £70million transfer warchest over the next few months. 

Even Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool have been active in the transfer market, signing La Liga starlets Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto, and Belgian custodian Simon Mignolet. 

Based on this evidence, and the fact that Tottenham Hotspur have yet to make any first team signings, it looks like Andre Villas-Boas may find it difficult to take Spurs to even the brink of Champions League qualification in the coming season. 

Unfortunately for Spurs fans, the fact of the matter is that the squad came as close as they did to the much-coveted fourth spot in the Barclays Premier League last season mainly because they were carried over the line time and time again by Gareth Bale. 

The squad possessed players of immense individual quality, like Sandro, Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen and Scott Parker, but these players failed to achieve the consistency in performances and results as that is required to compete with the likes of the Uniteds and Citys. 

In order for Spurs to achieve their ambition of finishing above the Manchester clubs and London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, they will have to bridge the gap in quality between them and the teams that finished above them by delving into the transfer market and securing the right deals at the right times. 

However, judging by the club's anonymity in the transfer market so far, the gap between them and the rest may just be widening.

Which is exactly why Daniel Levy has appointed Franco Baldini as the club's Technical Director. 

The Italian has a keen understanding of the transfer market, and his experience with AS Roma and Real Madrid may prove to be invaluable if Spurs are to make the jump from the Europa League to the Champions League. Combined with Villas-Boas shrewd tactical philosophy and astute transfer policies, and Daniel Levy's ability to work with tight transfer budgets, Baldini could help the club secure its preferred transfer targets over the next few months.

While Spurs have been linked with the Brazilian duo of Paulinho and attacking midfielder Bernard - both currently on duty with the Brazilian national squad in the Confederations Cup - and Aston Villa's 20-million-pound rated Belgian striker Christian Benteke, it remains to be seen what kind of players Villas-Boas will pursue in order to add to his current squad. 

The prudent thing to do would be to buy players to fit in his preferred tactical system of a 4-2-3-1 formation, rather than to buy the biggest names on offer and then try and fit them into his starting XI. 

Some of the possible areas of weakness in Spurs' squad are the left-back spot, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto not having had his best season under AVB, while Danny Rose and Kyle Naughton do not seem to be the kind of players one would name in the starting XI of a Champions League team, which is what Spurs want to be. 

Also, while the likes of Sandro - when fully fit- and Moussa Dembele are good enough to form a solid partnership in the middle of the park, Spurs seem to lack strength in depth, with only an ageing Scott Parker and the young German Lewis Holtby available as capable replacements. 

Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore are probably not good enough, and this warrants a signing like Paulinho, an immensely versatile central midfielder. 

On the offensive front, one signing to add to the already-promising array of attacking midfielders and wingers - Aaron Lennon, Clint Dempsey, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Gareth Bale - would do the job, adding both creativity and much-needed goals. 

A preferable profile of such a player would be a left-footed winger capable of cutting in from both flanks as well as hugging the touchline. 

This would complement the playing style of first-choice winger Lennon, who is equally capable of playing on both flanks. 

One of the best players in the world who suits this profile is Real Madrid's Angel di Maria. Although signing a player of the calibre of the Argentine is still a distant dream for the White Hart Lane faithful, a player similar to him in quality and playing style would not be out of place in the white half of North London.

Finally, and it goes without saying, Villas-Boas needs to buy a 30-goal-a-season striker he can rely on.

Benteke fits the mould perfectly, as he is perfectly capable of playing as a lone target-man up front, and as a deep-lying forward. 

The team needs conviction when it comes to finishing chances, and a move for United's Javier Hernandez, who has been starved of first-team opportunities at Old Trafford, would serve the team's purpose.

In summary, Spurs need to make the most of the next two-and-something months by signing the creme de la creme, the most suitable players available, otherwise Champions League football may just become a distant memory, and the club's impressive-yet-insufficient 72-point haul of 2012-2013 may prove to be too difficult to repeat.

 

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Topics:
Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur
Football

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