Roberto Soldado Must Improve Amid Javier Hernandez Rumours

Nathan JudahCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2013

VALENCIA, SPAIN - MARCH 08:  Roberto Soldado of Valencia sits on his knees as he reacts after failing to score during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 first leg match between Valencia CF and PSV Eindhoven at Estadio Mestalla on March 8, 2012 in Valencia, Spain. Valencia won 4-2.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Roberto Soldado’s future as a Tottenham player is secure, but his playing time appears far from certain.

Dropped for Jermain Defoe in the recent 3-0 home loss to West Ham, there are now strong rumours that Javier Hernandez (via the Independent) will be the club’s primary target when the January transfer window opens.

And despite the huge summer outlay on seven big-name signings (including Soldado for £26 million), Andre Villas-Boas still has plenty of money available to fund a pursuit of Hernandez.

Whether or not David Moyes will be prepared to sell is another question entirely, but one must assume the days of United’s dominance on and off the pitch look to be over.

Soldado’s initial transition from La Liga appeared seamless with two goals (both penalties) from his first two starts.

But that’s where the positives stopped.

Since that strike against Swansea, 405 league minutes have elapsed without a Soldado goal. And with only one assist to his name, it’s easy to see why Spurs are one of the lowest scorers in the league.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25:  Roberto Soldado of Spurs scores the opening goal from the penalty spot during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Swansea City at White Hart Lane on August 25, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by M
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Remarkably, the striker is yet to find the net in open play, and the media vultures are starting to circle.

But with his recent replacement struggling badly in Spurs’ worst performance of the season, Soldado is set for a reprieve for this weekend’s game at Aston Villa.

With his grace period well and truly over, Soldado must start to deliver in order to appease the doubters.

And he has the perfect run of games to show his true quality. The trip to Villa is followed by homes game with Hull City and Newcastle United.

It should be the catalyst to kick-start the Spanish international’s season.

But if there's a failure to make the desired impact, Soldado might have to get used to a seat on the bench for the foreseeable future with Spurs looking to Hernandez for goals.