Tottenham Transfers: Top 5 Alternatives to Leandro Damiao
Leandro Damiao could have been scoring goals for Tottenham Hotspur by now, if you are to believe André Villas-Boas, who dismissed claims of third-party ownership sinking the deal (per David Hytner at The Guardian):
There was a third-party with Atlético Ibirama, the club who own 30%; that wasn't a problem. Things were very, very close, almost to the point of being agreed. On the whole dealings of the whole agreement with all the parties, we needed more time. It was not specifically one party's fault.
If Damiao doesn’t end up at White Hart Lane, here are the top five alternatives to Leandro for Spurs.
5. Alfred Finnbogason, Heerenveen, Age: 24
Where's Wilfried Bony?
By the time summer comes along, he might be owned by a Russian club (from Voetbal International via Sky Sports): "I hope to leave this winter. My wishes have not changed. Yes, the market in Russia is not open  for very much longer, but what can I do?"
When all the scouts and media attention are focused in on Vitesse games to see Wilfried, someone like Alfred Finnbogason goes under the radar.
He's three goals behind Bony, and during the season, the 24-year-old Icelandic international had stretches where he scored in six successive games and had seven goals in five games.
Alfred's teammate Filip Duricić has agreed to join Benfica, a club with a proven track record in buying low and selling high, so don't feel queasy if you've never heard of Heerenveen.
The Dutch club have had esteemed forwards in the past like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Afonso Alves and Bas Dost.
Where would Finnbogason rank among the aforementioned forwards?
It's hard to tell because Alves by far was the best forward out of the group at Heerenveen, yet he was a costly flop at Middlesbrough.
Ruud's goal scoring record for Heerenveen was respectable—13 goals in 31 league games—but you wouldn't have gone out on a limb and predicted him scoring 44 goals in one season for Manchester United.
KJH is one of the best finishers inside the penalty box.
JDT is like Miroslav Klose in that both played better for the national team than at club level.
Dost was very lucky to be playing with Duricić, Luciano Narsingh and Oussama Assaidi. Bas is a good player but he overachieved big-time last season.
Keep in mind, Finnbogason's answer to Narsingh is a journeyman in Daniël de Ridder, who wakes up everyday feeling sorry for himself knowing he wasted all that talent.
If Dost is good enough to be playing in the Bundesliga, then I have no doubt that Finnbogason can play in one of Europe's elite leagues.
 Not all transfer windows are concurrent with England. The Russian window closes in a week's time.
4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Saint-Étienne, Age: 23
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang believes he'll gone in the summer (from beIN Sport via Graham Porter at The Mag): "The club can do some good business (in the summer) with me and I think they will want to sell me."
A year on, Pierre-Emerick has demonstrated his ability to lead the line as a No. 9 but also played as a wide attacking forward with the freedom to stay on the flanks or cut in.
In previous weeks, he's started on the left with Brazilian Brandão playing the centre forward role.
The Gabonese international went through a puzzling stretch of form where he didn't score in seven successive Ligue 1 games, which might be the reason why he's given this free role on the left.
Tottenham Hotspur will be in contention with Newcastle United and various other clubs for Aubameyang's signature.
Whilst Spurs do have French speaking players, Newcastle is called Le Toon for a reason, and with such an overriding French atmosphere in the Newcastle dressing room, it could sway French-born PEA to go with the French revolution at St James' Park.
3. Mame Biram Diouf, Hannover, Age: 25
Mame Biram Diouf was never given a fair go at Manchester United and he wasn't in the right frame of mind on loan at Blackburn Rovers.
It's easy to see why he has succeeded with Hannover.
1) They're starting him as the No. 9 thus rebuilding his confidence.
2) Mame Biram's teammate is Szabolcs Huszti, a player forwards love to play with but drives coaches crazy with such a daredevil approach to playing the game.
For you Americans out there, Szabolcs plays like a quarterback flinging the ball into triple-coverage.
Huszti passes the ball straight to the opposition 26.2 percent of the time (big liability especially in one of Europe's elite leagues) but he creates 2.5 shots per game, which is better than Mario Götze (2.3), Thomas Müller (2.2), Eden Hazard, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie (1.8).
Perhaps, Diouf is profiting off Huszti?
Yes, but the former United player also has four assists (second best on the team behind Szabolcs' eight), he presses, contests aerial challenges and has shown good work ethic.
If surrounded by superior players like at Tottenham Hotspur, MBD will succeed.
He's an obvious transfer target for Borussia Dortmund if Robert Lewandowski forces a move to Bayern Munich.
2. Adám Szalai, Mainz, Age: 25
Here's an excerpt from an article I published last November (via B/R)
Szalai's 2010-11 season can be summed up with the moniker "The Bruchweg Boys."
In five years, people will wonder how on earth coach Thomas Tuchel had three elite footballers in Szalai, Lewis Holtby and André Schürrle playing for little old Mainz.
The three young guns inserted themselves into Bundesliga folklore by celebrating like popstars whenever they scored—hence the boyband nickname, the Bruchweg Boys.
Holtby and Schürrle were on their way to becoming stars, whereas Szalai was still a wannabe.
This season, he began justifying Heidel's steadfast belief that Mainz had invested wisely in a Real Madrid reject.
Adám Szalai averages more dribbles per game (1.5) than Ezequiel Lavezzi (1.4).
At times, the Hungarian moves like the Wolfsburg Edin Džeko, who use to take the ball past a defender and finished expertly (nowadays, he hardly ever dribbles for Manchester City; 0.3 DPG).
Andreas Ivanschitz, Nicolai Müller and Marco Caligiuri aren't on the level of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard.
Szalai has scored 12 league goals with an extremely efficient 3.3 shots per goal, compared to Fernando Torres' seven Premier League goals from a dismal 8.1 shots per goal.
1. Christian Benteke, Aston Villa, Age: 22
I'm still waiting for KSI's video on Christian Benteke...
We shouldn't get too carried away with Benteke because he has finishing problems, which need to be addressed.
"Luis Suárez has scored 18 goals and he's not the best finisher!"
Yer, from 152 shots (59 more than Robin van Persie, who has one more league goal than the Uruguayan).
Christian's missed all seven of his goal scoring opportunities against Southampton.
It a regular storyline when he played for Genk. You wonder if he would have scored all those goals if Kevin De Bruyne wasn't there.
This would only be a serious problem if Benteke was a limited goal poacher like Jermain Defoe.
Christian (8.3) is behind Andy Carroll (10.1) in aerial contests throughout Europe's elite leagues.
Unlike Andy, Benteke has no problems with the ball played to his feet, as Liverpool found out.
The Belgian should be Tottenham Hotspur's No. 1 alternative to Leandro Damião.
Why, so? Christian's age, his potential to be a world-class complete forward and he has Premier League experience.
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