Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Should we replace Keane? If so, who with?

There’s no point harping on about Mr Tottenham turning his back on us to join the car thieves in Merseyside. It’s water under the bridge now and therefore time to move on. As the 'second striker' Keano had a key role to play in the way Spurs sides have lined up for the last few years. As well as a decent strike rate, he was also instrumental in setting up a huge number of our goals.

So, assuming Ramos wants us to keep playing the same way, we will need to bring in a new deep-lying forward. But more of that in a minute. In many of this summer’s pre-season friendlies we have lined up without two forwards. Whether you call it a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 or 4-1-3-1-1 or whatever other concoction you choose to use is open to debate… the fact is we have operated on more than one occasion with Darren Bent as the ‘lone’ striker. With a midfield packed full of creative attacking players this is certainly an option, and the likes of dos Santos (or should we be calling him Giovani?), Bentley and Modrić all seem to be settling well. Personally I also like to mention the FA Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge a year or so ago when Lennon played for some of the game in the middle and looked pretty impressive. We certainly have options.

However, I’m a traditionalist at heart and would naturally favour a 4-4-2 formation, with one of the central midfielders a little more attack-minded than the other, and one of the forwards more likely to drop-off (á la Keane) than the other. Therefore I do advocate replacing Liverpool’s newest scally.

Spurs have been linked to more players than I care to remember this summer, but two names have regularly been mentioned who I would describe as second strikers: David Villa of Valencia and Andrei Arshavin of Zenit St Petersburg. Both are undoubtedly great players who won many more pundits after an impressive Euro 2008. Neither will be cheap and neither are dead certs, but if we could choose one of them, which one would it be?

As the Golden Boot winner of this summer’s tournament, Villa has the pick of teams to choose from. Although initially it sounded like he was keen to stay in Spain, the rumours linking him with Tottenham continue to increase. I think if he was to become a Spurs player it would be a huge surprise to many, but with the Spanish connection through Ramos you just never know. Since joining Valencia in 2005, Villa has notched up 70 goals in 130 appearances. His international strike rate is as impressive: 18 goals in 35 games. I rate Villa as one of the hottest players in Europe at the moment, and at just 26 he is likely to keep improving. Would he choose Spurs over a club playing in the Champions League? I can’t see it myself, only dream it.

So if securing David Villa is just a pipedream, what about the Russian maestro? Andrei Arshavin is also young (he’s just six months older than Villa) and is also in demand. There were rumours linking the 2006 Russian Footballer of the Year with Barcelona earlier this summer, but the Spanish giants apparently ruled out making a bid. He is allegedly keen to leave his homeland and the Premier League seems a likely destination. The latest round of rumours would suggest that Arshavin has agreed personal terms with Tottenham, but since the two clubs can’t agree on a fee the transfer is currently in limbo. On the pitch there are few doubts surrounding his playmaking ability and vision, but his strike rate is nowhere near as impressive as Villa’s. But then again, Arshavin is perhaps more versatile as he can play out wide or even as an attacking central midfielder. To date he’s notched up 13 international goals in 37 appearances, and 47 league goals in 217 games for Zenit.

Either player would be great news for Spurs fans, but I’d favour the Spaniard. Would he join us though, I’d be tempted to say “pigs might fly”, but then maybe I underestimate Ramos’ ability to talk the talk. The next problem is that if one of these deals was to come off, we’d be talking a transfer fee north of £18 million. To fund that I’d expect Levy would rely on selling Berbatov, and that would then leave us with just Bent as the out-and-out striker in the first team squad. Any problems with injuries or suspensions, and we could be left pretty threadbare.

I think we need two centre forwards and two second strikers. If we keep hold of Berba, then he and Bent fit into the first category. Should the Bulgarian depart then Roman Pavlyuchenko would be a great replacement and would hopefully cost no more than £12 million. With Villa or Arshavin as the preferred second striker, we’d then have Giovani dos Santos as decent cover. Not cheap, but a mouth-watering attack for the new season.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is a hard one i think? the fact being? nobody really knows what berba is up too? everyone thinks he's off but then again we all thought that this time last year?? so what do we do if he stay's? because bent at the moment is on fire and would be evry hard to leave the fella out!but if berba were to depart this beautiful club and with pointer man gone and the juande wanted to replace them then imho i would go for villa and santa cruz

Anonymous said...

If ( and that's a big if ) Berba stays then we only need one of them. Pavlyuchenko is a no go ( he said so himself ). Arshavin has said he wants to play for numerous clubs but has now settled for spurs ( as we are the only ones still interested ). He is very talented though! Gus Hidink said he is the best player he has ever coached, and that says something. Villa would be great! I think he would come, but I doubt spurs will Double the club record transfer fee to land him! We are closer to Arshavin. But lets not forget about young Pekart waiting in the ranks! Hat trick yesterday, top scorer in the reserves last season, very promising! Lets hope we get Arshavin, a defensive mid and a defender! COYS!

Anonymous said...

I feel we don't need more than 2 big value strikers as we have Dos Santos who can play up front. If we keep Berb then him and Bent is enough. If we sell him then get a big name replacement. If we get 2 then there will be too much money sitting on the bench. I would like to buy Capel instead as an out and out left winger.Plus a DM to sort out the midfield

Anonymous said...

Hi fellow Yids just got a call of my dad who works with a guy who delivers to WHL saw bentley last week he has the 2 russians at the lane this morning. I dont bel it but i thought i share it with you lot. coys

Anonymous said...

Reports in the Slovak media today, claim Arshavin is a done deal, £19mill

Giovani dos Santos said...

Just call me Gio

Anonymous said...

rubbish article, get with the times, 442 is dead no top team play a traditional 442 - Real madrid, barcelona, Manu, chelsea liverpool no one. also we've only spent about 8m net so far as we've recouped a lot from player sales, berbatov does not need to be sold to fund more purchases - although i do think he'll leave. Pavlyuchenko has already said he doesnt want to come to spurs

Anonymous said...

ye very tough one...
uhh. i'd say Villa or Huntelaar i dont really fancy Arshavin . he is unproven

N7teen said...

Gio it is then!

JimmyG2 said...

Any of these top class players will do for me.Quality is what counts.Ramos favours players who can play more than one role and Arshavin can certainly do that.We will be more flexible tactically under Ramos ,more interchanging of players within the game and in substitutions.The formation will be more fluid and it will be difficult to put a label on it.This is obvious from pre-season.It will fool the fans but more important it will confuse our opponents.I hope Berbatov stays but Villa will be a good replacement as with Torres for Spain he played just off the front man,which is where i like to see Berbatov.I hope Bent gets a good runthough.he,s earnt it and deserves it.