After a season dominated by Harry Kane’s brilliance up front, Tottenham Hotspur are in the hunt for another new striker in Swiss forward Breel Embolo. This season for FC Basel Embolo made 27 appearances, netting ten goals in 1785 minutes in the Swiss league – not an amazing record, though he is only 18.
He scored 16 goals in all competitions, with only one of them coming in the Champions League against Ludogorets Razgrad in the group stage.
Embolo is originally from Cameroon – a nation he would most likely start for in the national team in a season or so if he keeps progressing. However, he lived in Switzerland from a young enough age to be able to join the Swiss national team at aged just 18. At the moment the Swiss squad have Josip Drmic, Haris Severovic and Xherdan Shaqiri as their main goal-scoring options, which gives Embolo a chance of making a splash in the first team if he moves to the next echelon of European football.
Embolo is extremely physically built for a teenager, standing at 185 cm while being built like a freight train. He is very quick both on and off the ball, and good with the ball at his feet. His off the ball runs are impressive, though there has to be attention paid to the fact that the standard of defense in the Swiss league is not exceptional.
The Premier League is a whole other step for Embolo to be making, especially with the added pressure of the last young striker at Tottenham Hotspur coming through so well.
While there are technical and mental aspects of Embolo’s game that need improvement, he is physically built for the Premier League, something that is a huge advantages for young strikers. In the case of Roberto Soldado, the finishing ability in the box was visible in Spain – but he was not ready contend with the brutal physicality of aerial duels and strong center backs.
Mauricio Pocchettino is a good coach for Embolo to play for, as he will get a chance in the first team as a youngster. However, 2015-16 could be a different story as Harry Kane may be handed the vast majority of starts up front, and Pocchettino does not play two strikers often.
The question that jeopardises the justification of a £10 million move – possibly more if The Hammers bid for Embolo as well – is whether or not Embolo is ready at the moment. He is clearly a talented young player, and he played well for a youngster in a lesser European league.
In fact, he netted a brace in Basel’s match on Saturday against Luzern. What seems like a possible outcome for Embolo at Spurs, however, is the player being loaned out following arrival at White Hart Lane. A Tottenham squad that needs improving does not need to be spending £10 million on a fourth choice striker. In my opinion, what they should be doing is restoring consistency in the multiple positions in need before one of their big talents like Christian Eriksen decides to leave the club.
Arguably, it would make more sense to move to West Ham for Embolo. Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll and Enner Valencia are the current first team options up front for The Hammers. Carroll is far past his prime in terms of consistent goalscoring, and Enner Valencia just picked up an apparently significant injury to his knee.
If Embolo wants a challenge, breaking his way into the first team at The Boleyn Ground would be a great way to establish himself, especially because of the service he would receive from playmaker Dmitri Payet.