Early on in this summer transfer window we have already seen a host of individuals being linked with moves both from and to White Hart Lane. 

It's likely that Andre Villas-Boas will make a number of signings to increase the depth of, what is clearly, a talented group of players who have now had a year to gel with one another. 

They only missed out on a Champions League spot by the narrowest of margins last season so, this year, big things are expected at White Hart Lane. But who will lead the charge for Tottenham?

Gareth Bale has been linked many times already with a move away from the Lilywhites, although it appears that this has been shelved for another year due to Daniel Levy's stubbornness to keep his prized talent.

AVB looks to favour a 4-3-3 system and with the standard of wingers that he has at his disposal it is easy to see why this will the formation of choice for him in the upcoming season.

Therefore we look at who is likely to face Crystal Palace on the opening day of the 2013/14 season.

Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris

The French Number one managed to oust the evergreen Brad Friedel from the starting jersey at White Hart Lane and, since then has flourished, making crucial saves on a number of occasions. If he can continue to settle he could become a Spurs mainstay for years to come.

Right-back: Kyle Walker

Although not quite as impressive as he was in his debut season at Tottenham in which he won the PFA Young Player of the Year Award, Walker has seemingly made the right-back berth his own.

If he can continue to work on his defensive abilities so that they match his offensive capabilities then there is no doubt that this will be a future England starlet.

Centre-back: Jan Vertonghen

What an excellent start the Belgium defender has had to his Spurs career! Selected as part of the PFA Team of the Year; being named Player of the Month in March and chipping in with seven goals and five assists in all competitions has led him to being the first choice in AVB's starting XI. His versatility is also highly regarded as he is able to play as a left-back also.

Centre-back: Michael Dawson (c)

Villas-Boas would have regretted selling Dawson to QPR as he has openly admitted, with the centre-back being a rock at the back for Tottenham last season. With his passion, leadership and precision tackling, Dawson makes up for his lack of pace. 

Younes Kaboul is a solid back-up due to his sheer pace and power, while Stephen Caulker appears to be a real star of the future. With these four the Lilywhites are not left wanting for defenders and this is one of their strongest positions.

Left-back: Fabio Coentrao/Luke Shaw

This is the position which has always been a massive problem for previous Tottenham managers who have attempted to fill it with the likes of Lee Young-Pyo, Erik Edman and Thimoutee Atouba in recent years. Benoit Assou-Ekotto is the latest to attempt to plug the gap, although his inconsistency led to a number of fatal mistakes last season. 

With Ezekiel Fryers not ready to make the step up to the first-team yet, this is a position in which AVB will look to add to this summer. Both Coentrao and Shaw would be superb choices as they are relatively young, yet both capable and experienced.

Centre-Defensive Midfield: Sandro Raniere

I was massively impressed with the young Brazilian before his knee injury in January, as were other Tottenham fans, leading to his nickname 'The Beast'. At only 24, Sandro already looks a super acquisition, with the role of midfield brute being a position in which many other clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal are severely lacking. Last season his tackling was his most impressive asset but don't be surprised if he pops up to score a few key goals in the 2013/14 season.

Centre-Midfield: Paulinho

What a signing this could be for the North London club! With Manchester City shelling out £30m for fellow Brazilian, Fernandinho (who is both older and has been kept out of the national squad by Paulinho himself), this transfer looks like a steal at being only half the price. 

Also wanted by Real Madrid, Paulinho is a highly accomplished midfielder who has strength, pace, passing, vision and goals in him, as seen by the England national squad in the recent match between the two. With Moussa Dembele and national counterpart Sandro alongside him, Tottenham will have one of the most formidable midfields in the Premier League.

Centre-midfield: Moussa Dembele

Although the Belgium did have many notable performances he was sometimes guilty of losing his way in games last season. However, now that he has had time to develop alongside his Spurs teammates it is likely that we will see the very best of Dembele. The playmaker is only 25 years of age and if he can bring his shooting up to the standards of his dribbling and passing range then he will become a superb Tottenham player. 

Right-Wing: Aaron Lennon

Due to his prolonged presence in the Spurs squad since his transfer from Leeds United in 2005, many forget that Lennon is still only 26. With his electric pace and tricky dribbling style, the young Englishman is a potent weapon in AVB's arsenal and could yet earn a well-deserved call up to the national squad. 

He made a notable eight assists last season and if he can improve on this still further then silverware could be in the offing for Tottenham next season.

Left-Wing: Gareth Bale

The superstar of 2013 has been linked on numerous occasions to the Bernabeu among others this summer but Spurs have taken a firm stance in that he will not be released before his contract is over. 

This is an important step for Spurs as they are proving that they are no longer the selling club of the past which saw players such as Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov leaving for Old Trafford and Luka Modric heading to Real Madrid. If he can stay fit, this explosive talent has the potential to get better and better.

His one weakness is his greed which is bred from his desire to be the best. However, if he cooperates with his team then that will lead to his ultimate greatness. Just ask Lionel Messi where he'd be without the likes of Xavi and Iniesta.

Centre-forward: Christian Benteke

Since the departure of prolific pair Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane, Spurs have failed to have a superb strike-force. Adebayor and Defoe were just not good enough this year which means that AVB must take action this summer. 

Step forward, Christian Benteke. Spurs desperately need a target man who can take advantage of both the crosses from the wings and key passes from midfield and put them into the back of the net. 

The young Belgium international is one such man. For a man of 6 foot and three inches, he is surprisingly capable with the ball at his feet, which brought about his super outlay of goals in the 2012/13 season, leading him to be coveted by a number of clubs this summer. 

Anyone wishing to acquire his services however will have to spend anywhere up to £25m to Aston Villa who will be desperate to keep their prized asset. 

Subs:

Brad Friedel - After signing a contract in December, the American will be at White Hart Lane until 2014, remaining as Spurs 2nd choice goalkeeper who remains as talented as ever.

Younes Kaboul - The 'late developer' has become one of Spurs' best defenders and provides real depth in this area. He is also excellent in the air and a real goal threat at

Ezekiel Fryers - An astute signing in January, the former Manchester United player could prove to be one of AVB's most important purchases in the coming years.

Lewis Holtby - A steady, yet not overwhelming start was made by the young German but there is real belief that he could be the man to replace Luka Modric at White Hart Lane. Although not physically big, he makes up for it with superb work-rate and bags of vision. A future star.

Gylfi Sigurdsson - Many have already written off the Icelandic midfielder due to his lack of goals last season, yet he has chipped in with 5 assists and 6 goals in total. At only 23, he is technically proficient and gives Spurs great depth and versatility as he can operate across the midfield.

David Villa/Jermain Defoe – Both players are excellent in their role of poacher extraordinaire and can be match winners on their day. Although ageing slightly, Villa could be a good one-season signing due to his experience and class.

 

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Topics:
#Premier League
#Jermain Defoe
#Tottenham Hotspur
#Christian Benteke
#Gareth Bale
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