Tottenham's New Era: Out with the Bale, in with the New
For the most part, a club losing one of its key players amid a high profile transfer saga can be despairing, but Andre Villas-Boas has turned the loss of one player into the ushering of a new era at the club.
Bale’s move to Real Madrid is still under negotiation, but with Bale not turning up at training sessions, it seems he has played his last game for Spurs. However, the move, which is poised to smash all previous transfer records, with a reported price tag ranging from £86-£94 million according to The Telegraph, appears to have a shining, silver lining for the North London club.
Having impressed in Brazil’s Confederations Cup triumph over the summer, the acquisition of midfield maestro Paulinho from Corinthians for a record fee of £20m got fans excited. His role for Brazil in the Confederations Cup seemed a more defensive one, whereas early evidence suggests that AVB views him as more threatening further up in the field.
He is an intelligent player whose vision and skill is capable of splitting defences easily, as seen during Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Swansea on the weekend.
Belgian Nacer Chadli soon accompanied Paulinho at White Hart Lane, costing £7 million from Dutch side FC Twente. Usually utilized on the left wing, he could potentially become the man to take up Gareth Bale’s soon-to-be-vacant position, although, having played up front for the national side, it is his versatility and adeptness that could prove to be his most valuable assets.
Chadli is also a player with vital Champions League experience—if Tottenham are to march an assault on the top four, they will need players capable of stepping up to the plate once they get to that higher European stage. Since joining Twente from AGOVV Apeldoorn in 2010, he made 106 appearances for the club, scoring 31 times, including one in each Champions League group game against Tottenham.
If Chadli’s arrival hadn't quenched the thirst of Tottenham fans who craved a new big name to print on the back of their shirts, the signing of Roberto Soldado from Valencia most likely did. To bring the much-adored Spaniard to the club meant breaking their transfer record once more.
It is at this point that it seemed that Tottenham were spending as if they were about to come into some big money. At many times last season, the absence of a top class, clinical striker haunted them.
In their home defeat to Chelsea and their two Europa League quarter-finals against Basel, they were made to pay for missed chances; Adebayor’s row-Z penalty something Spurs fans will want to forget as quickly as possible.
So, it is with a sigh of relief as much as ecstasy that, in his first three competitive games for the lily-whites, Soldado has netted four times. If he can maintain a similar level of consistency as the season progresses, his importance will surely be reflected in the league table.
Etienne Capoue too, whose £9 million switch from Toulouse followed shortly after, looks to be a player brimming with potential. With the departure of defensive midfielders Scott Parker (to Fulham) and Tom Huddlestone (to Hull) as well as Steven Caulker (to Cardiff), his arrival is one that fills a necessary void as he is able to play in both defensive midfield and centre-back.
Capoue has been a part of the French national side since U-18 level, with seven caps at the senior level, including a goal against Belarus in September last year. Now he is already receiving glowing plaudits at Tottenham.
Asked to sit deep against Swansea, he was solid, reliable and provided much impetus for the attacking players. With a 90% pass completion rate, six tackles and four interceptions, he was pivotal in Spurs maintaining their third consecutive clean sheet.
Chelsea’s hijacking of Brazilian midfielder Willian seems to be only a minor blip in their transfer market dealings. They now look set to smash their transfer record for a third time this window, with Roma’s Argentine winger Erik Lamela set to fly into London to finalize a £30million deal.
With 15 goals and five assists in his 33 appearances last season, Lamela's effectiveness cannot be doubted. At 21 he still has room to grow and mature as a player and Tottenham might just be the right environment to do just that.
Yet, the rumours simply do not cease there, with another Brazilian, this time in the form of Hulk, being linked with a potential deal. Questioned about the likelihood of such a move, Villas-Boas’ response was hardly conclusive, saying ““He is not our player, so I find it difficult to respond.”
So, even with the impending departure of talisman Gareth Bale, it seems a high time to be a Tottenham fan.
What do you think of AVB’s signings? Has he strengthened the key areas, or has he signed too many midfielders, with the defense lacking attention. Let us know in the comments section below.
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