Tottenham ready to swap places with Arsenal
We take a look at what Tottenham need to do to get the upper hand over arch rivals Arsenal
For many years now, Tottenham fans have suffered to being second best year-in year-out to their north London rivals, Arsenal.
The Gunners are known to have a rich history of trophies and success; however, in recent years they have just managed to scrape into the top four, with their Champions League place being confirmed on the last day of the season, two years in a row.
It is widely regarded that Spurs have a real opportunity to beat their rivals this year, with new signing, Paulinho, set to help.
But do Spurs really have a chance? Lets take a look at what they need to do this transfer window to get the upper-hand on their enemy.
Firstly, they must buy an established striker with lots of potential. The likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Luis Suarez , who are reported to be looking for a new club, are out of Spurs' price range and would be unlikely to even consider moving to a Europa League club anyway.
This is the same with most, if not all, other want-away, world-class strikers (including Roberto Soldado).
However, with Spurs' striker woes an ongoing roadblock in their push for Champions League, they must find a striker with a lot of potential who would be willing to move to a Europa League club.
Christian Benteke submitted a well-publicised transfer request and would be an ideal candidate to play the lone striker in Spurs' system. However, he has now signed a new contract until 2017 and plans to stay at Villa Park for at least one more year.
Matej Vydra rocked the Championship last year, scoring one goal every 128 minutes he was on the pitch and taking home the Championship Player of the Year.
Vydra's ability to use his frightening pace to get behind defenders would be an added boost for Spurs to have a player like him leading the line.
While he may not be an immediate solution to their striking problems, at the age of 20 he has a lot of potential and a year on loan to a lower calibre club in the Premier League would be excellent for his development.
I believe that the immediate solution to their problem would come in the form of Edin Dzeko. Although he may be a whole six years older than Vydra, he still has a lot to prove after spending most of the 2012/13 season on the bench at big-spenders, Manchester City.
With 14 goals in the Premier League last season, he would fit well into Spurs' system and would be a suitable replacement for the in-form Adebayor that we saw the season before last.
With the recent arrivals of Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic at City, it seems likely that Dzeko's playing time at City will be limited even further, with a transfer the obvious solution.
Although Spurs haven't been linked to this particular player in recent times, it seems like a win-win for both player and club, with the only disadvantage for Dzeko being the lack of Champions League.
Secondly, they must sort out their back four.
Last season, Spurs' defensive line-up changed constantly and while change is always expected to occur throughout the season for any side, the Lilywhite's must find a consistent back four who can build the basis for a strong team.
Although Kyle Walker was not as impressive as his breakthrough season at Spurs in 2011/12, his improved performances throughout the year have surely dome enough to secure his place at right-back for this coming season.
Jan Vertonghen's impressive performances in his first season in the Premier League as a centre-back and occasionally as a left-back, a position he has made clear he does not want to play in, have undoubtedly secured him a spot in the centre-back position for next season.
The rest of the defence, however, may be more difficult to sort out.
With the recent return of Younes Kaboul from injury and the impressive performances of Michael Dawson and young Steven Caulker, the second centre-back will be faced with tough competition.
It makes sense to start the captain, Dawson, as Vertonghen's partner for the beginning of the 2013/14 season, but this is widely regarded as a position that will soon be taken over by Kaboul, depending on his performances.
We must not overlook Steven Caulker, however, as he is sure to fight hard for a starting position this season.
The left-back position may soon prove to be the hardest to sort out. With many fans calling for Benoit Assou-Ekotto to leave the Lane and for Danny Rose to replace him, the pressure from the majority may be too hard for Andre Villas-Boas to ignore and will do exactly that.
Benny seems to have different plans however, with reports confirming he would be happy to see out his career at the Lane.
One can't help but wonder though, is Danny Rose good enough? Whether we bring in a new left-back or stick with one that we already have, time will tell as to whether or not that was the right decision.
Lastly, they must secure Gareth Bale for at least one more year. In one season, Bale's stock has sky-rocketed and he is now one of the most wanted players in the world, being widely recognised as good enough to play for any team.
His name, which is often uttered in the same sentence as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, creates shivers down the spine of any player who has to face him as he wreaks havoc all over the pitch, petrifying defenders with his pace and trickery.
After being named PFA Player of the Year, Young Player of the year and Football Writer's Player of the Year, he has been linked to big clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, PSG and Real Madrid in recent times.
Although it looks as though he is set to stay at Tottenham to continue his great working relationship with manager Andre Villas-Boas, chairman Daniel Levy must warn off any potential bidders by getting him to sign a new contract which is valued higher than the one he is currently on.
The news that Bale has signed a new contract will be like a new, major signing to Spurs fans and will finally bring some relief to the die-hard followers who have not stopped worrying about his departure since the end of last season.
If these three things can be done successfully, depending on Arsenal's activity in the transfer window, Spurs may very well have a genuine chance of pipping their north London rivals this season and claiming a Champions League spot, much to the delight of the Lilywhite side of north London.
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