Tottenham Hotspur: Season Preview 2013-2014

With the new season almost upon us, we are all vigorously looking forward to a high-octane and action-packed term of Premier League football. Last season saw Tottenham Hotspur narrowly miss out on Champions League football and for the most part this summer have been the centre of attention. Real Madrid have been persistently pursuing Spurs’ talisman Gareth Bale. Tottenham, however have been busy in the transfer market which has been swept aside from the limelight due to Bale rumours.

The signing of illustrious midfielder Paulinho surely had many worldwide football fallers licking their lips at finally being able to see the Brazilian in one of the top leagues in Europe. Paulinho, 25, was excellent for Corinithians, becoming somewhat of an icon for the club, leading them to Copa Libertadores success. The £17m fee in modern day footballing terms is close to a bargain considering Manchester City signed Fernandinho for £30m, somehow who has constantly been overlooked by the Brazilian national team. Paulinho was apart of the dominant Copa America winning Brazil side and shone throughout the competition, demonstrating exactly what he was capable of in the shop window.

Nacer Chadil is also a recent acquisition, the 23 year old was signed for around £7m. Chadil is a tricky winger who played and scored both times against Tottenham for FC Twente in the Champions League in the 2010/11 season. The Belgian international may have been signed to cope with life without Gareth Bale however that is yet to be confirmed whether he is staying or departing. Roberto Soldado also looks like an imminent signing after Tottenham confirmed a £26m deal for the clinical Valencia striker.

With Emmanuel Adebayor misfiring during Jermaine Defoe’s absences last season due to injury, it was certain that Tottenham would be headhunting a striker. Soldado’s 24 goals in Liga BBVA last season was a very impressive tally and he has consistently scored over 25 in all competitions for the Spanish side since his arrival from Getafe in the 2010/11 season. Tottenham fans will be greatly anticipating seeing their new striker in action, I am sure.

With Hugo Lloris now assured to be Tottenham’s number 1, they have a strong basis from the back to the front. Lloris is quick on his toes and his distribution is superb to his outfield players. With Brad Briedel also waiting in the wings for his jersey back, it provides strength in depth for goalkeepers. Versatilte Jan Vertonghen also experienced a fine first season in a Lilywhite shirt, his ability to play at either centre-back or at left-back is invaluable to Tottenham, he also proved to continue his goal grabbing that seemingly was prominent during his time at Ajax.

Although he can play left-back (Vertonghen), I feel Tottenham could have strengthened this summer with another left-back personally as Benoit Assou-Ekotto hasn’t been the greatest of full-backs for them, but it could be said after Danny Rose’s successful loan at Sunderland, then he could be the man to fill that position. If the £80m plus Angel Di Maria and Fabio Coentrao deal for Gareth Bale is to be believed, Tottenham would instantly have themselves another left-back in Coentrao, worthy of making that position his own.

Kyle Walker has also come on leaps and bounds over the past two seasons, however it was slightly bizarre for Tottenham to name him their greatest right-back of all time. Kyle Naughton will provide decent enough backup at both full-backs positions also. Drifting in towards the centre of defence, Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertoghen would of course be the centre-half pairing that Spurs would look to play, rotating with captain Michael Dawson, but moreover, Kaboul’s and Dawson’s injury proneness is a concern and it was somewhat illogical of Spurs to sell Steven Caulker to Cardiff after full well knowing that William Gallas didn’t have his contract extended at the end of last season.

Midfield-wise, Tottenham have an excellent plethora of talent. The defensive minded players Sandro, Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone are all good at what they do, Sandro very much so, during his injury last season, Spurs missed the Brazilian and what with his fellow countryman Paulinho arriving, they could form a very fruitful midfield partnership with a more attacking midfielder playing ahead of them. Moussa Dembele can operate as a deep-lying playmaker or play a more attacking role, his versatility is very valuable to Tottenham’s side, they’ll want to make sure that he keeps fit for as much of next season as he can.

Tottenham are also spoilt for choice between Gylfi Sigurdsson and Lewis Holtby, both didn’t have the best of debut seasons or in Holtby’s case, half-season but both are young and have plenty of room for improvement, Sigurdsson is an excellent striker of the ball which was shown more noticeably during his loan spell at Swansea. Tottenham manager Andreas Vilas-Boas also has talented youngsters Tom Carroll and Andros Townsend at his disposal, the latter was superb in a very poor QPR side last season. Spoilt for choice much?

The explosive Aaron Lennon will most likely be Spurs’ right-winger for the upcoming season, Lennon’s pace and improved delivery were sorely missed in segments of last season where Spurs’ slumped which in turn resulted in them missing out on Champions League football. Nacer Chadil will provide guile and creativity next season coming from either left-wing or through the centre if need be.

With his future unknown at this very moment in time, Welsh wizard Gareth Bale must be contemplating the prospective £85m move to Real Madrid. Bale was Spurs’ pride and enjoy in the latter half of last season, his pace, trickery and superb long range finishing was the difference between winning and drawing on numerous occasions last season, his last minute goal against West Ham was the watershed for his excellent form to kick-start. Bale scored 21 goals in 33 appearances and assisted on 4 occasions, an excellent record for someone who operated in roaming attacking midfield roles or on either wing. With such an excellent contribution to the side, he would be sorely missed if he was to depart to Real Madrid however £85m is an absurd amount of money and could allow Spurs to buy 2 or 3 world-class players providing their interest in a move.

Up front last season, Spurs had the tendency just to play one striker; hence the masses of midfielders they have compared to only two strikers they had last season. Jermaine Defoe scored 11 last season, a decent record, some included some excellent finishers but for a team wanting Champions League football, they need more input from their striker. Look at Manchester United, they signed Robin Van Persie and he delivered the goods, 26 goals in the league. Emmanuel Adebayor in comparison to Defoe was dreadful last season however, he only managed 5 goals in 25 games in the league; 16 goals between two strikers simply isn’t good enough.

The acquisition of Roberto Soldado shows their intent this season, they want a lot more goals this season and if Gareth Bale was to stay, they want to take the burden off of his shoulders in times of need. Soldado’s predator instinct in the box will be sure to provide a lot of goals for the North-Londoners.

Overall, I think Tottenham do have a very talented set of players. However, looking at it on the big picture, it is tough to look past Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United to challenge for the league title, don’t get me wrong, I think Tottenham’s side is as good as Manchester United’s for squad depth and overall quality across the pitch but the Red Devils have always had that winning mentality, but with David Moyes now as manager, who knows?

Arsenal on the other hand, may not have signed anyone significant but I do think that with their signings all settled now from the previous season, they could push on and challenge for the title but it is unlikely considering how much strength in depth Chelsea and Manchester United now have. Personally if I was hedging any url bets right now, I would suggest Tottenham will most likely finish 5th yet again, unless one of the previously mentioned teams have a stinker of a season, I just cannot see past them finishing any higher.

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Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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