When Tottenham Hotspur signed Roberto Soldado this summer for a then club-record fee of £26m (later usurped by the £30m spent on Erik Lamela) he arrived with the promise of goals.
The Spanish striker scored 24 goals in 35 league games in La Liga for Valencia last season – five from the penalty spot and four headers – and he had been prolific over the previous three seasons for his former club.
During the 2010/11 season he scored 25 goals in all competitions, in 2011/12 he bagged 27, and last year he scored a combined total of 30 in 46 games in the league, cup and Europe.
But Soldado is yet to transfer his goalscoring form to White Hart Lane.
The 28-year-old Spurs hitman has netted just four times in ten Premier League matches since his move to North London, and three of those strikes have been from the penalty spot.
His single goal from open play this season came at Aston Villa in October when a slick piece of link up play on the edge of the penalty area fed the Spaniard to slot past Brad Guzan from ten yards.
It was a move that showed signs of promise which has otherwise been lacking, although it is difficult to pin all of the blame for his lack of form at the feet the Soldado.
Against Everton on Sunday – bar his missed header – the Tottenham striker touched the ball just once inside the box.
That proves that the service has simply not been good enough for a centre forward who last season scored all of his 24 league goals from inside the penalty area.
While Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon did plenty of running out wide on Sunday, their reluctance to provide a killer pass to tee up their main man resulted in Soldado making fewer touches than any other player who was on the pitch for the full 90 minutes.
The simple fact of the matter is that manager Andre Villas-Boas set up his side to defend at Goodison Park this weekend.
Brazilian defensive midfielders Sandro and Paulinho and German midfielder Lewis Holtby were preferred over the arguably more creative trio of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Gylfi Sgurdsson, who last season provided a collective total of 15 assists for their respective clubs.
Holtby perhaps deserves his place having registered 12 assists for Schalke and Tottenham last season.
But Villas-Boas’ insistence on playing two holding midfield players means his is failing to maximise the potential of his creative summer signings, and until he finds a way to accommodate them, Spurs will not be serious title contenders and will continue to struggle to break into the Champions League.
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