Assessing Tottenham Hotspur's Striker Situation as the Season Draws to a Close

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
Assessing Tottenham Hotspur's Striker Situation as the Season Draws to a Close
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Tottenham strikers Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado have both had tough seasons for different reasons.

The strikers currently employed by Tottenham Hotspur have scored 19 of the club's 52 Premier League goals this season. A further eight were netted by them in cup games.

Sang Tan/Associated Press
Soldado and Adebayor have been part of a Spurs strike-force which has failed to match expectations this season.

The combined 27 scored by the trio of Emmanuel Adebayor, Harry Kane and Roberto Soldado is less than the 31 to Luis Suarez's name alone in league play. His Liverpool team-mate Daniel Sturridge's 25 in all competitions is only two behind the combined tally of his peers in north London.

Even accounting for the further 10 scored by Jermain Defoe prior to his move to Toronto FC, the goal return of the Tottenham strike-force has been below what all concerned with the club would have hoped for.

As anyone who has followed Spurs knows, however, it has not been as simple as the front line not producing.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
Soldado has not been able to replicate the goalscoring form at Valencia which prompted Spurs to spend so much on him.

Adebayor's bust-up with former manager Andre Villas-Boas saw him feature only once until shortly before Christmas. Twenty-year-old Kane has had to bide his time, only getting the first league start of his career in April.

Soldado's disappointing form is more difficult to account for. Spurs spent £26 million on a player who scored 82 goals in three seasons for Valencia, hoping the 28-year-old's experience and penalty box prowess would ease him into a smooth transition into English football.

Instead, the Spaniard's struggle for form has seen him mocked in some quarters:

Crucially, though, the majority of Spurs supporters have stuck by Soldado.

Should Tottenham look to keep Roberto Soldado around for next season?

Submit Vote vote to see results

His 11-goal haul this season has not come close to matching the 30 from his last campaign with Valencia. But considering several of them were match winners, too, it has hinted sufficiently at his class that he has been cut some slack, given the difficulties which can come with settling into a new country.

Soldado's status is particularly intriguing as the season draws to a close.

An injury following the Liverpool loss saw Kane handed a chance in his team-mate's place. Three goals in five matches (his all-round game impressing in the process) have seen the England youth international not only earn further starting opportunities but also all but cement his squad place for next season.

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Harry Kane had impressed against West Ham prior to Younes Kaboul's sending off leading to him being withdrawn.

Kane is still learning and still proving himself as a player. Bar substitute appearances against Manchester United and Benfica, he has not yet tested himself against particularly strong teams. Given the fledgling stage of his career, though, he and Spurs have every reason to be happy with his progress so far.

Kane moving ahead of him for now has been the latest blow to Soldado's chances of establishing any momentum in the season's final few months.

Despite scoring his first goal of 2014 against Cardiff City, the striker was dropped as his manager Tim Sherwood opted to focus his side's attack around Adebayor for the next few games.

After a fine display—including a terrific assist for Christian Eriksen—leading the line solo in the win over Southampton, Soldado then had the misfortune of barely getting a look-in against a dominant Liverpool the week after.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Soldado's goal and winner against Cardiff delighted team-mates and fans alike.

The aforementioned injury cost him playing time against the comparatively weaker opposition which followed. In his absence, it has been Kane who has filled his boots versus some of the Premier League's stragglers.

Denied the opportunity to at least finish his first year in England strongly, Soldado is now banking on Tottenham trusting him to come good next year (assuming he wants to stay). It will be very much a case of him needing to hit the ground running in pre-season.

Save for a brace in the 5-1 win over Sunderland, Adebayor's goalscoring form has dipped these last couple of months. Unlike Soldado, he cannot claim being in-and-out of the team as an excuse.

The job he did for Sherwood upon his restoration to the starting line-up, along with adequate performances of late (excluding his moving out of the way of Stewart Downing's free-kick in the West Ham United loss), have helped keep his manager satisfied. While probably genuine, the player's own backing of the beleaguered coach has done him no harm, either:

Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Despite a lack of goals of late, Adebayor's form has mostly been good enough, he has deserved his continued playing time.

Adebayor's hefty wages have to be considered (even accounting for Manchester City's help paying them these last couple of years, it is still at least £80,000 per week, as reported by BBC Sport at the time of his transfer in 2012). At 30 he has showed no signs of slowing yet but keeping him around will mean substantial continued financial investment. A hit they will only likely want to take if he is playing a prominent role moving forward.

It would be a surprise to see the Togo international's services dispensed with if Sherwood has anything to do with it. But the rumoured availability of someone like Chelsea's Romelu Lukaku—last week linked by The Independent's Gordon Tynan as a possible makeweight in a Blues bid for Spurs midfielder Paulinho—would give pause for thought.

Of all the permutations surrounding a possible move for a striker Spurs would look to build around, Adebayor making way perhaps makes most sense. Kane is a homegrown talent the club will want to continue to develop, Soldado an expensive recruit they may not want to give up on yet.

Scott Heppell/Associated Press
Will the prospect of signing a striker like Romelu Lukaku—currently on loan at Everton from Chelsea—see Spurs make changes to their attack?

In a front line that may only have room for one in any given week, Adebayor's similarities to Lukaku and his own unwillingness to play second-fiddle again could make him the odd man out.

It is all hypothetical, of course. What is certain, though, is Tottenham will be working to ensure they do not have the problems they have had with scoring goals next season.

Be it Sherwood making the decisions or someone else, the process behind that is undoubtedly already well under way.

Load More Stories

Follow Tottenham Hotspur from B/R on Facebook

Follow Tottenham Hotspur from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Out of Bounds

Tottenham Hotspur

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.