According to sources close to ESPN, Tottenham Hotspur are readying another inquiry as to the availability of Ukraine Winger Andriy Yarmolenko. Following their 2-2 collapse against Stoke City – who were also interested in the Ukrainian – Mauricio Pocchettino appears to be looking for more attacking talent in midfield to bolster his squad.
Spurs currently boast the likes of Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli in the wide attacking midfield positions, however neither has been able to put together consistent form that dominates Premier League full backs.
Yarmolenko has dominated his domestic league as well as the Europa League since coming into the Kiev first team in 2010. Every year since then, he has tallied at least ten goals per season in the league and put together impressive campaigns in Europe from the wing position. Yarmolenko operates on both wings, and while he prefers the left side, his strength on both feet means that he can be effective against defenders from all sides. He stands at 187 cm, which also makes him an aerial threat cutting inside and getting on the end of crosses.
Even though Yarmolenko had been dominating the Ukrainian league for a few seasons, he has really come into his own in Europe in his last two seasons. In the 2013-14 Europa League, he made three key passes per game, as well as completing 4.3 dribbles per game from 6.4 attempted. While he did not register any assists, he scored four goals, compiling an average match rating of 8.07 (per WhoScored.com).
This season he was equally supreme against defenders, again registering four goals but with seven assists to his name as well. While he did not shoot as much, he added a new aspect of passing to his game, linking with forwards Junior Moraes and Dieumerci Mbokani.
Yarmolenko plays the role of a wide target man, a type of winger that is seldom present among European wingers in the modern game. Taller wingers have been confined to central roles, and the ones who have remained on the flank, a la Thomas Muller for Bayern Munich, are confined to roles that do not suit their playstyle because their coaches often do not understand how to play them.
Andriy Yarmolenko is both physically dominant, capable of finishing and good with the ball at his feet – a combination of skills that Tottenham have in each of their wingers – but not all in one. Erik Lamela is a genius on the floor when he likes to be, however he is a mercurial talent that requires his own volition to play well.
Perhaps with a player like Yarmolenko to interlink with, Lamela would have another wide option outside of Nacer Chadli, and possibly add more to his game. Chadli himself is a capable finisher – he scored against Stoke in their 2-2 draw, yesterday afternoon – and he is physically strong, however his first touch can leave things to be desired. If they can land the Ukranian, he brings a dynamism they currently do not posess, with talent and consistency that Pocchettino has only found in Eriksen and Kane thus far. If Kane can continue to produce goals, Tottenham will be in very good shape indeed – but with Yarmolenko, they could surprise many Premier League sides with their attacking firepower.
The only problem that Spurs could be faced with when signing the winger is that Ukranian players often have complicated situations with their third party agent ownership. If they can negotiate a deal with Yarmolenko’s agent, and Dynamo Kiev president Ihor Surkis permits the transfer, he could be a brilliant signing for the north London club.