Tottenham must avoid Fernando Llorente

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Whatever matchmaking site Daniel Levy has been using, it has worked in this transfer window. All of Tottenham signings (Kieran Trippier, Kevin Wimmer, and Toby Alderweireld) have thus far addressed positions of need for affordable prices and could make immediate impacts. 

However, Levy must have revised the formula and it's not for the better.

If the Spurs were to acquire Fernando Llorente, it would be their biggest mistake in the transfer window since the "Magnificent Seven."


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The signing would be made for all the wrong reasons, and could delude the Spurs into thinking they have a void covered, when the man they acquired will provide nothing that Emmanuel Adebayor could not.

You heard it here first. But before lambasting this potential transfer, let's first explore why it makes sense.

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Llorente has a big body. In fact, he's mammoth. He weighs 90 kg and stands at 195 cm and relies heavily on his strength to create chances for himself and others. 

Llorente regularly will chest down a ball in the box for a teammate or himself and has great control on such plays. He is an unselfish player and a willing passer and always strives to work in the team aspect of a game, regularly leaving balls off for swooping striking partners. 

Additionally, Llorente is also a good one-on-one finisher in open space but given his lack of pace, rarely finds himself in these situations. 

Llorente also has a high football IQ, which means that he learns tactics, positioning and roles quickly. He has played in starkly contrasting systems at Athletic Bilbao and Juventus.

And of course, he's a great header of the ball. He can be a target man in the middle and any opposing team would feel his presence on corners.

Creativity and an omnipotent aerial threat are two new threats that Llorente would add, and that could add goals from the whole squad, not just the front.


But for Spurs, Llorente just would not fit the ideal mold that Mauricio Pochettino has in mind.

The new Spurs found a reliable system last year with a reliable striker, Harry Kane, and should try to build around him. Llorente would be an expensive backup, as a Kane and Llorente partnership would require an alteration of formation, which is extremely unlikely.

Of course, in the same formation, Kane could move into the no. 10 role, as he did several times last season, pushing Christian Eriksen out wide. However, both Kane and Eriksen saw their production dipped when they were forced from their natural positions. That means that Llorente would more than likely have to compete with Kane for playing time at striker; it doesn't take a soothsayer to tell you Kane will win that competition.

Llorente also does not give Spurs the same pressing that Pochettino desires. Llorente is used to playing in organised defensive systems and serving as the target man to ignite the counterattack, and is in the wrong shape to stress the back line. 

His aerial presence would be trivialised by the lack of crosses as well. Both Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela are inverted wingers, and Spurs cross much less often than what Llorente is used to.

Like previously mentioned, Llorente provides less than a motivated Adebayor (motivated being the key word). Adebayor, when on his game, involves teammates, runs, and provides a scoring threat with volleys, headers, and long shots. Llorente provides the same things, but does so less efficiently.

And why pay for something you already have?

An £11m price tag is a great deal for a player of Llorente's quality, but a lot for a backup striker on the decline. At 30, Llorente will not grow with this team, a team based on the gelling, synchronised teamwork of comrades that have played together.

Instead, the Lilywhites should pursue a striker that can be deployed as both a backup, high energy sub and play in other positions, and one that is young and will grow with the team. Llorente is too one-dimensional and old.

Lastly and most importantly, Tottenham wants help in the goals department to take some of the burden off of Kane in the attack. Last year, Spurs were led by Kane with 21 goals, while Nacer Chadli added 11 and Eriksen tacked on 10.

What the midfielders supplied was negated by ineffectual strikers. Soldado and Adebayor only put in three total goals, leaving Kane without a rest day no matter how bad he needed one.

Llorente, for his many qualities, does not score at a high clip. Last year, in 31 Serie A games, he only had 7 goals to show for it.

And while he was more effective as a lone striker in previous seasons, Llorente has no chance of uprooting Kane from the no. 9 role, and no chance at returning to that productivity.


Keep the "striker needed" sign up. Spurs have had their progress halted too many times because of purchasing players the upper management wanted instead of the manager.

Pochettino's army has its marching orders, and that's to run with youth and energy 90 minutes every game. 

Llorente does not fit that mould. Whether it's Saido Berahino, Clinton Njie, or someone else, Spurs need a complimentary attacking piece for Kane, not a striker to compete with him. 

Plug in the correct combination for an effective Spurs striking force and it's not that hard to find that striker: just look for youth, speed, and versatility.

Daniel Levy, look elsewhere. This isn't your guy.

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Athletic Bilbao
Mauricio Pochettino
Tottenham Hotspur

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