David Villa Represents a Minor Upgrade, Not a Major Player in Tottenham's Attack

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David Villa Represents a Minor Upgrade, Not a Major Player in Tottenham's Attack
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One transfer rumor in Tottenham’s quiver this summer has been a mooted interest in Spain and Barcelona hitman David Villa.

Likely to be looking from the outside of the starting XI with the arrival of Brazilian forward Neymar, it would seem a good time for Villa to find new pastures to raise his profile ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

A clinical poacher when provided service, Villa has been a menace for teams unable to cope with his movement and goal-scoring instincts.

It's little wonder that Fiorentina would be interested in his services, as the Mirror note, as would the brain trust in London.

That does not mean he is a solution to the attacking chasm at White Hart Lane.

While Thomas Cooper made the case for Villa over Leandro Damiao—a rich man's Jermain Defoe—he does little to change the attack for those in Lilywhite kits.

A look at the statistics between the two over the past two seasons shows two players who have scored similar amounts of goals. Though Villa has scored at a far better shooting clip than the current Tottenham striker, the rate is comparable the further down through the years one looks.

Against Getafe, Barcelona's shots came primarily within a span from the edge of the six-yard box to the penalty spot. (ESPNFC)

Defoe has not been as prolific a scorer in the Premier League as Villa has in La Liga. Then again, going from being the man at Valencia—the peak of his powers—and melding into the mind-melting passing scheme at Barcelona certainly did not hurt Villa’s goals-per-shot ratio.

If this were pre-injury Villa from 2008, when he was still at Valencia and dynamite in front of goal, this would be a no-brainer as far as acquisition is concerned.

But that’s not the Spaniard Spurs are looking at.

Villa will turn 32 in December. He has not hit the same heights as he did while being the main man at Valencia. He is coming in after being made almost the tertiary option and a bit player in Barca’s attacking empire.

In short, he was overtaken by several players and is not going to be a player a club can start in 30 Premier League contests. La Liga does not have Tyne and Wear, the Potteries and the Black Country in its sun-drenched locale.

This is not to say that Defoe’s not old and not likely to handle a full campaign schedule any better. He may be used to it but that does not mean that the current Tottenham forward’s slight frame makes him any better suited to it.

Against West Ham at home, Spurs scored two in the box but took more shots from outside the box than inside and none inside the six-yard box. (ESPNFC)

What you could say is that Villa would be an upgrade over Defoe, but that hardly makes him a solution to the starting forward spot.

One thing Tottenham are very noted for is that they hit tons of shots from outside the box. As many times as Gareth Bale has hit screamers to save Tottenham’s tail, that is not a place you are likely to find Villa.

Shooting inside the box was not much better in terms of having open looks. Matches at White Hart Lane often looked more like a defensive effort along the Maginot Line than a footballing spectacle.

Poachers, when they are not turning in rebounds and deflections, need service. They need balls played into their path in the box and need to be fed to score a lot of goals.

Of the many things Spurs do well, to-your-door service is not one of the better elements of the attack.

One of the issues the club is aiming to address is the lack of creativity in the final third. Having Bale run around and shoot from distance was the most common answer as the intricate play that may have once been created by Luka Modric or Rafael Van der Vaart was absent.

Against Reading at home, Spurs were forced to rain in nearly three times as many shots from outside the box as inside. (ESPNFC)

While Villa can shoot from distance, so can half the known football world. What makes Villa a great player is the decision-making near the goal and his clinical finishing from in tight, not his long distance bombs.

As with Defoe, it is likely that the inability to get the ball into threatening areas will mean Villa will have to come out of the box to find the ball, negating many of the attributes that make the Spaniard a feared shooter.

With Bale also the man looking to shoot the most, Villa likely runs into a similar problem that he has at Barcelona with Lionel Messi on the pitch, namely a lack of scoring chances.

Villa’s goal-scoring record in 2013 was less than enthusiastic, only netting five league goals, one goal in the Champions League and a pair of goals in the Copa del Rey.

While Defoe’s track record was worse—a solitary league goal against Manchester City—Defoe was also not getting service from Xavi, Andres Iniesta or any of the other passing threats Barcelona employ.

Defoe’s numbers could probably go up playing at the Camp Nou. Then again, so could just about anyone in the world.

Without getting Villa the necessary service, however, the Spaniard is little more than an upgrade on Defoe, not a player that could become a leading man as Tottenham make an assault on the top four again in 2013-14.

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