Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy should target Nurnberg centre-forward/right winger Josip Drmic in the summer transfer window as a potential replacement for either Erik Lamela or Roberto Soldado, so here is a scouting report on Drmic, a 21-year-old Swiss international.
Lamela or Soldado Out, Drmic In
Spurs signed Lamela from Roma for £25.8 million, per the Times (subscription required), based on his performances on the right wing, however he has been plagued by injuries, per David Hytner at the Guardian.
If Lamela wants to return to Serie A in the summer, which was his preference during the January transfer window, per ESPN, Drmic is a suitable replacement.
With speed, a direct playing style and a willingness to run at opposing defenders, Drmic can be the player Spurs management wanted Lamela to be, while also being an upgrade over Spurs right winger Aaron Lennon.
Drmic has scored seven goals and registered two assists in his last 10 Bundesliga games for relegation-threatened Nurnberg.
Meanwhile, Lennon is goalless and has created one goal in league play during the same period on a Spurs team that spent around £110 million on reinforcements in the last summer transfer window, per Matt Law at the Telegraph.
|League Only||Games||Goals||Assists||Dribbles Per Game|
|Gareth Bale (2012-13)||33||21||4||1.8|
During Nurnberg's 1-1 draw against Stuttgart, Drmic drifted towards the right flank, took advantage of Stuttgart left-back Arthur Boka being out of position, cut in and then maneuvered the ball past Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich with a right-footed trivela shot.
When Drmic cuts in from the right wing, he can shoot with the outside of his boot or finish with his opposite foot (46.2 percent of his league goals [6/13] come via his left-foot, per Bundesliga.com).
Drmic's bag of tricks coupled with a know-how of getting himself into scoring positions is why it is so difficult for defenders to mark him.
For example, Borussia Monchengladbach's players wrongly assumed Nurnberg central attacking midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake was going to pass out wide.
Drmic positioned himself in between Gladbach centre-backs Martin Stranzl and Tony Jantschke and readied himself for the pass.
Drmic received the ball and placed it past Barcelona-bound goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, per Football Espana.
He fashioned a chance out of nothing when his first-time volley crashed onto the crossbar in Nurnberg's 3-3 draw against Werder Bremen.
This is why Nurnberg management have tended to play Drmic more up front than on the wings as the club need him to score in order to avoid relegation.
Drmic is a more proficient shooter than Soldado, Spurs' £26 million acquisition from Valencia, per Sky Sports.
|Goals Per Game||0.52||0.24|
|Shots Per Goal||3.5||9.0|
Take away Soldado's four penalties in league play and he has only scored two goals.
Drmic can extend plays and finish, like when Nurnberg central midfielder Jose Campana sent in a long-pass, which was cushioned with the outsole of Drmic's boot.
His instant control enabled him to get away from Eintracht Frankfurt centre-back Carlos Zambrano.
Drmic then powerfully shot the ball past Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.
In Nurnberg's 4-0 win over Hoffenheim, Drmic chested Kiyotake's cross, swivelled and placed the ball past Hoffenheim goalkeeper Koen Casteels in one fluid motion.
Drmic's technical ability plus a quick-shot release is why his shooting percentage (57, per Squawka.com) is 25 percent higher than Soldado (32, per Squawka.com), who is more effective taking a penalty than scoring a goal from open play in the Premier League.
Sell Lamela or Soldado?
There are moral victories in Soldado's season so far like creating five goals in league play and forming a good connection with Christian Eriksen.
"He's [Soldado is] a true professional and he gets on with his training," Spurs manager Tim Sherwood said, per FourFourTwo.com. "He wants to improve and he knows he's been in a bit of a sticky spell, but I always looked him in the eye and knew that he had the belief."
Though, Soldado is 28 years old, so he does not have the upside of Lamela, a 22-year-old.
But Lamela has thought about packing it in to the extent that his father attempted to engineer a move back to Serie A during the January transfer window.
"Erik [Lamela] is not happy and wants to go back to Italy," Jose Lamela said, per ESPN. "Tottenham does not want him to leave in January."
Zanetti to a radio station in Argentina:"Lamela to Inter is possible. In Italy there is a lot of talk about this" via @GugliCannavale— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) December 28, 2013
If Sherwood is replaced by Louis van Gaal, per Dominic Fifield at the Guardian, the Dutchman will isolate Lamela should the Argentine show any signs of mental weakness, like his compatriot Juan Riquelme.
"I went there [Barcelona] with the intention of staying five years but I stayed only one," Riquelme said, per SBS the World Game. "The truth is that he [Van Gaal] was not very nice and after hearing him I thought about going back to Argentina as soon as possible."
Riquelme is a player I've always loved. Disappointed it didn't work out for him when he made his move to Barcelona. Van Gaal is crazy.— Tom (@FourFourTom) July 5, 2012
Should Levy and Spurs management need a replacement option for either Lamela or Soldado in the summer transfer window, Drmic must be considered.
If Nurnberg suffer relegation, Drmic will be available at a bargain-basement price, so Spurs will not take a big financial hit if he does not succeed like Lamela and Soldado.
SportBild: Leverkusen join race for Drmic, who has a €3.5m exit clause if FCN are relegated. Good idea as long-term Kießling replacement— Clark Whitney (@Mr_Bundesliga) March 19, 2014
Drmic possesses a playing style which transitions to the Premier League: Ambitious, quick, smart, two-footed, excellent finisher and can create his own shot.
Based on Drmic's elite form right now, he can be a difference-maker for Spurs next season.
Statistics via WhoScored