Tottenham: Why Valencia's Roberto Soldado Is the Right Move for Villas-Boas

Thomas CooperFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2013

Roberto Soldado might be displaying a similar look of frustration right now as he waits to see whether his future is with Valenica or Tottenham Hotspur.
Roberto Soldado might be displaying a similar look of frustration right now as he waits to see whether his future is with Valenica or Tottenham Hotspur.Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Andre Villas-Boas has revealed that Valencia's Roberto Soldado is indeed a transfer target for Tottenham Hotspur.

In a press conference in Hong Kong ahead of Tottenham's Barclays Asia Trophy match with Sunderland on Wednesday, Villas-Boas acknowledged, "It's not a lie to anybody that we've been looking for a striker to strengthen our squad and to have more strength in depth."

Further quoted in a Sky Sports article, he went into what detail he could about Soldado.

Roberto is one of the players we have been following and his career speaks for itself. He's a great striker.

But there isn't a deal being struck at the moment, it's just interest and conversations.

Villas-Boas also acknowledged there are other "players we are interested in."

Spurs may end up pursuing one of these unknown targets. Now we know their interest in Soldado is legitimate though, it is hard to imagine many better (realistic) options for Villas-Boas in improving his attack.

There are very few sure things in football. It should be stated that Soldado is certainly not one either.

At age 28, it is feasible the high levels he has reached in recent years might begin to decrease.

Being a proven goalscorer in one country does not not necessarily mean your abilities will translate to another country either. Fernando Torres thrived upon his arrival in England while Fernando Morientes was less successful.

Given the high standard of La Liga and the impact of Spanish exports in England—including David Silva and Juan Mata—you would not bet against Soldado succeeding, though.

The greatest unknown, at the time of writing at least, surrounds whether a transfer can actually be agreed.

ESPN FC's Duncan McMath has quoted a report from Valencia-based newspaper Super Deporte that suggests talks have broken down after Spurs' technical director Franco Baldini was unable to agree a deal with Valencia president Amadeo Salvo.

Gazzetta dello Sport contributor Tancredi Palmeri reported that, despite the rejection of a Spurs bid (see below), the move might not quite be off the cards.

Palmeri indicated that there may actually be some disagreement within the La Liga club over their response to the bid.

If true, it leaves the situation intriguingly poised.

Last week, the Daily Star's Paul Brown wrote that Valencia would not let Soldado go for anything less than the £30 million release clause the player is understood to have.

It all combines for a saga that should warn Spurs fans that securing Soldado's signature may not be simple. That would just be the beginning of a process of integrating the player that offers no guarantees as to its success.

Football-wise anyway, in Villas-Boas' attempts to strengthen his attack, Soldado's qualities should outweigh concerns about his longevity.

Most attractive to the Tottenham boss will be Soldado's penalty box prowess.

Current Spurs striker Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor have goals in them. Neither, though, have been as prolific from close range as would have been liked—especially for a team harboring ambitions of a title challenge.

Adept with both feet, and solid in the air, too, Soldado's athleticism and instinct for finding space have been big attributes in him becoming such a frequent scorer in Spain.

Several of his 30 goals for Valencia in 2012-13 (a career-best season tally) were a result of these instincts in the area—as displayed in the accompanying video compilation.

Soldado's talent extends beyond his poaching ability. He works the channels well and is comfortable operating from distance, too.

An example of this was one of his two goals versus Deportivo La Coruna in a 3-3 draw last August (see video at the 1:40 mark).

Staying onside to meet Jonas' through-ball a good 35 yards out from goal, Soldado showed an impressive calm and degree of intention as he controlled, rounded the goalkeeper and placed away from the covering defender into the bottom corner.

The prospect of this versatile forward operating in conjunction with the likes of Gareth Bale, Mousa Dembele and new signing Paulinho will be an exciting one for Spurs supporters.

Unless Villas-Boas and Baldini can pluck a gem of an emerging talent from relative obscurity, acquiring Soldado looks like Tottenham's best chance of bringing in a greater consistency in attack that will augment their already considerable options elsewhere.