As Andre Villas-Boas nears the end of his first year in charge of Tottenham, it is already abundantly clear how he is looking to build his squad. The Portuguese manager is looking to construct a squad full of youthful exuberance, physicality and most importantly, bags of quality.
Taking a view of Tottenham’s squad as whole, to compete with the very top teams, it could do with some patching up in most areas. Players like William Gallas, Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor have all featured prominently this season, this despite their advancing years and average form. Villas-Boas will be looking to usher out the aforementioned players and replace them with some vibrant young talent.
So looking at Tottenham stylistically, and with these guidelines in mind, we’ve trawled through some of the latest transfer murmurings and picked out five potential targets that the Spurs fans would go crazy for...
Stocker goes close against Spurs in this season's Europa League
Tottenham’s Europa League campaign was put to an end by FC Basel. Across the two legs, the standout players for the Swiss outfit were Valentin Stocker and Mohammed Salah.
They started on either flank against Spurs and caused havoc in both encounters. In the game at White Hart Lane, in particular, clever movement from the wide areas meant they were especially difficult to pick up in dangerous areas.
Surely the performances of these two players caught Villas-Boas’s eye. They both fit into his criteria and would be relatively easy pickings for Tottenham should they wish to pursue an interest.
You imagine that both players would see the Premier League as a massive step up and excellent stage upon which to hone their skills.
Coentrao would excel in Tottenham's current system
With regular left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto apparently set on a move to AS Monaco, Spurs will almost certainly be in the market for a replacement.
One name that has been linked with Spurs is that of Fabio Coentrao. The Portuguese international finds himself behind Marcelo in the Real Madrid pecking order, but despite his regular omission, remains one of Europe’s top full-backs.
Going forward, in particular, he is as capable as any. With the marauding Kyle Walker on the right, Coentrao’s energetic bursts would provide balance and width to Tottenham forays forward.
Villas-Boas likes to play quite narrow down the left-hand side; Lewis Holtby, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Clint Dempsey have all operated from that position and like to drift inside. This would suit Coentrao down to the ground.
When Spurs set up with a left-midfielder cutting inside, they are crying out for a dynamic full-back to exploit the space this leaves. In his time at Benfica, Coentrao was lauded for doing exactly that. Playing regularly would surely bring that out of him again.
If he is available and Spurs are serious, they would be best advised to get this sown up quickly. There are plenty of sides that would potentially be interested in a player of Coentrao’s calibre. Qualifying for the Champions League could just tip the scales in their favour.
Capoue could give Spurs the bite their midfield has been missing
For the early parts of the season, midfield destroyer Sandro was arguably Tottenham’s best player. But since injury curtailed his campaign early, Spurs have struggled to replicate his desire and defensive awareness.
With Scott Parker aging and Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore not really up to the level required, Villas-Boas may well look to bolster his defensive midfield options.
Spurs, Arsenal and Everton have been linked with Toulouse man, Etienne Capoue, over the course of this season, and they will have certainly been all-ears when Capoue recently expressed his desire to play in England. The French international has been putting in eye-catching performances at the heart of the TFC midfield and looks tailor-made to play in the Premier League.
Capoue is what you might call a "proper" defensive midfielder. He has a fantastic engine and has a remarkable ability to anticipate danger. Not to mention, standing at 6"2", he is physically equipped to combat the rough and tumble nature of the English game.
The Frenchman has also shown his versatility this campaign, filling in at centre-back for a Toulouse side struggling to cope with the January departure of Moussa Sissoko. He could potentially be a smart addition to the Tottenham ranks and would slot in capably alongside Moussa Dembele at the base of the Spurs midfield.
Capoue looks as though he will almost certainly be on the move, but whether Spurs can bag him is another matter. Arsenal are reportedly very keen, whereas PSG are also looking to bolster their ranks with some French talent. The race is on.
Eriksen's signing would be a major coup for Tottenham
The future of Denmark’s brightest prospect seems to have been a topic of discussion for some time. Christian Eriksen has been linked with almost every top side in Europe, but it’s Tottenham who seem to be the most keen on the Ajax prodigy.
The Dane is not exactly a new name to the average football supporter, and he has been consistently touted for moves away from Ajax since making his international debut at 17 years old. But in that time, despite a host of rumours, no manager has ever taken a punt on him.
But with Ajax confirming that he will not be signing a new contract with them, the Dutch giants will welcome bids this summer to save losing their biggest asset for nothing in a years time.
Granted, Tottenham aren’t lacking players who can operate as attacking midfielders in Villas-Boas’ 4-2-3-1 system. But in terms of quality, Eriksen is a step up from the likes of Dempsey and Sigurdsson.
The Dane might be lacking in terms of Premier League experience, but he has already shown he is capable of shining against English sides. Eriksen was excellent in the two Champions League games against Manchester City earlier in the season.
Eriksen would flourish as one of the three attacking midfielders for Tottenham. If deployed alongside Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon in a trio, Spurs would have an all-encompassing blend of creative talent behind their striker.
Positionally, Eriksen is capable of operating anywhere across the midfield. His ability to pop up in space and play incisive passes would represent a perfect foil for the blistering pace of Bale and Lennon. For a player whom there has been so much hype about, Eriksen’s signing would represent a major coup for Spurs.
Benteke is the man to lead the Spurs line
Having already bigged up this deal in a previous article, I think it would be fair to say Benteke would be a more than welcome addition to Tottenham’s forward line.
The club needs to invest in at least one forward player, and after his stellar debut season, Benteke has to be the club's number one priority.
He would fit seamlessly into a side that is all about pace, power and quality. He can provide a physical threat and a fantastic platform for the likes of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon to play off. At 22 years of age, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
The one sticking point in this deal could be Villa’s reluctance to sell. Like Villas-Boas at Tottenham, Lambert is looking to build a young squad at Aston Villa. You imagine that Benteke will be central to his plans.
Villa look as though they might just steer clear of relegation and, if they do, Benteke will command a large fee. Especially having only been at the club for one season. Be sure keep an eye on this one throughout the summer.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments section or on Twitter @MattJFootball