Positions Where Tottenham Must Improve to Rival the Premier League Elite
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Tottenham does not quite rank with the Premier League elite, but, by improving positional needs, they can join the conversation.
Let's face it, so far, this season has been disappointing for Spurs.
They spent the last three seasons hovering around the all-important final fourth spot in the table, which meant getting a chance to play in the European competitions (Champions League or Europa League), but this season was meant to be different.
Finishing in or near the top four was good, but now they want to be considered amongst the other elite teams in the Premier League.
Things looked to be in good shape for Spurs at the beginning of the season. They brought in a high-profile coach, Andre Villas-Boas, and signings, such as Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele, to spearhead their chase for EPL glory.
The results, however, have been lukewarm for the Portuguese coach and his team. They are on the outside looking in at those European competition spots, sitting seventh in the league table.
However, all hope for improvement is not lost for Tottenham. There is still plenty of time left for them to make up some ground this season, and AVB (Andre Villas-Boas) will be getting the appropriate funds to make the necessary changes to his squad.
The only question that remains is where do they need help?
Alderweireld is just what Spurs need in defense
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If Tottenham wants to be considered among the elites, then the defense must be stronger.
Even the coach has said, flat out, that his team needs to be better defensively. So, naturally, figure this to be something rectified as soon as possible.
The defense has not been terrible, but they have conceded almost as many as they have scored. They won't be at the top of the Premier League unless that changes.
They also have a problem staying healthy. Again, hard to fault the team there, but it makes the need for improvement apparent.
It seems that there are already a slew of defenders on the Spurs roster, but, in addition to left-back, Spurs could serve to add a top center-back to the squad.
William Gallas is a great veteran to have around, but, at 35, his first-team days are nearing the end, and Michael Dawson, though the longest tenured Spur, is considered surplus parts.
At Tottenham, he would also be reunited with former Ajax teammate Jan Vertonghen. The two were key components to the success of Ajax the past couple of seasons.
Bale's departure speaks more to the need of a left-back than the lack of a standout on the current team
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Left back has been a bit of a revolving door for Spurs this season.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto, the usual first-team left back, went down early in the season with an injury. Then his replacement, Kyle Naughton, also went down with an injury.
Newly signed Jan Vertonghen, a natural center-back, filled in for a couple games, and even Gareth Bale got a crack at the position.
While the patch-work choices have worked so far for Tottenham, AVB has stressed that, with the good amount of funds given to him, acquiring a new left-back is must.
With the rumors of Bale's departure not going away, getting a new left-back becomes even more important to Tottenham.
Granted, Bale no longer plays in defense, his skill allows for fluidity on the left side, both offensively and defensively.
A transfer to Real Madrid could bring in Fabio Coentrao as part of a deal, which would fill the left-back need. At the very least, Coentrao is a serviceable defender, but he has the potential to be much better.
It's hard to say that Tottenham would still be considered elite when they lose their best player. However, if elite players made teams elite, then PSG would be the best team in the world.
As odd as it sounds, if they want to be elite, Spurs would be better off selling their best asset to better improve multiple areas of need.
Tottenham would love to convince the Brazilian hit man to join in January
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A striker may not be high on the priority list, but it's important if Spurs want to ascend to elite status.
It's not so much that they aren't scoring, their 23 goals-for is on par with the rest of the top teams not named Manchester United, but as you may know, it's not always that simple.
Jermain Defoe has been a welcome surprise for Tottenham. Defoe's return to Tottenham mostly saw him as a bit player, which is why he left the club originally, but he fought and earned his place in the first team.
Emmanuel Adebayor was a good low-risk idea by Villas-Boas, but he has been a disappointment. His most recent stunt might spell the end of days for Adebayor with Spurs. He was already rumored to want out, and that should seal it.
Clint Dempsey, one of Tottenham's big summer signings, has also failed to impress. Unlike Adebayor, though, Dempsey will get the opportunity to bounce back, given what they paid for him and that he doesn't have Adebayor's attitude problems.
Thus, striker is near the top of AVB and Tottenham's "to do list" in January. If they are confident that Defoe's production will hold up for the rest of the season, they can pick up a depth forward and have more to spend elsewhere.
However, it seems like they will attempt a move for a top striker rather than settle for depth. Though top target Leandro Damiao has recently cooled rumors of a January move to the Premier League, expect a big offer to be made to try and persuade him.
Regardless, AVB knows he should sign another attacker if he wants to improve the squad.
1. Attacking Midfield
Spurs missed out on Moutinho in the summer, but could still bring him to White Hart Lane
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This may be the most obvious one to fans, but Spurs need a change up top. "Up top" not only includes striker, which we'll get to shortly, but also the midfield.
Call it playmaker or attacking midfielder or whatever you want, really. Tottenham needs someone in the midfield, playing up top near the forwards, to provide better service.
Spurs thought they had the answer with the signings of Moussa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson, but, for different reasons, things haven't worked out as planned.
Dembele hasn't seen enough time on the pitch because he's been battling an injury. Additionally, as strong and creative as he is on the ball, Dembele is more of a center midfielder.
Could he play further up? Sure, but it makes more sense to utilize his strengths in a central role.
Sigurdsson has just failed to impress in his short time with the club, and while there's no need to give up on the talented Icelandic playmaker, Tottenham needs to address the situation quickly.
AVB has already approached Roma over a transfer for Miralem Pjanic, but was rejected by the Italian capital club.
In addition to Pjanic, Spurs have shown interest in a number of attacking midfielders such as Shakhtar Donetsk's Willian, Porto's Joao Moutinho and Ajax's Christian Eriksen.
Should AVB get any of the players he's interested in, the team's quality would match their elite rivals.