Tottenham: 5 Issues Spurs Need to Address This Summer
Tottenham was a tale of, well, more than two cities last season.
They compiled just three multi-goal games before Christmas. Then they won at Old Trafford for just the second time in 25 years. Then they went all of February conceding just two goals. Then they lost three games in March. Then they went undefeated in April.
Who is this Spurs team? On paper, they've got a strong back line, a stacked midfield and an offense that's one striker away from helping them score enough goals to put them in the top-four of the Premier League. But on the pitch, they look as confused as the men and women in the stands.
In the summer of 2013, Tottenham spent upwards of £105 million to bring in top talent like Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela. Expectedly, a roster half made up of guys who had never played together looked like...they had never played together.
So, what needs to be done this summer to see Tottenham back at the top of the table?
Raid Southampton's Cabinet
Bringing in former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has several benefits. He knows tactics, he can develop players and—most importantly—he's an easy way to get top talent from the lower rungs of the Premier League.
Lovren would help make sure the Spurs centre-back position is strong enough to withstand the Manchester Cities and Arsenals of the Premier League. But Lallana, as a versatile attacking midfielder, might be the missing ingredient in Tottenham's offense.
But that's not to say Spurs still don't need to shell out for another striker...
Bring in Another Striker
Harry Kane made strides, but he still lacks consistency. Roberto Soldado has a wicked shot, but we've yet to see him become a dependable goal scorer. Emmanuel Adebayor can get free on set pieces because of his physicality, but he looks atrocious on the open play.
Spurs need a true striker because their "goals-by-committee" hasn't worked for years. They got away with it because Gareth Bale was always in the lineup.
Now, with The Independent reporting that new manager Mauricio Pochettino might sell Soldado to free up even more transfer funds, it's even more important to grab a forward this summer.
Stop Playing with Tactics
This wasn't necessarily a problem with Andre Villas-Boas, but Tim Sherwood was so inconsistent with his formations and tactics.
I understand that you want to reward the players who have excelled in practice the week leading up to match day, but Sherwood would have guys in a different position two, three or four games in a row. It's no surprise there were reports that Spurs players threatened to strike if he was kept.
Give Mauricio Pochettino time in the early summer to play around with formations and experiment during friendlies in July. But once it's late-August or early September, experimentation will largely lead to players losing trust in their manager and losing steam, as they aren't able to settle into a certain rhythm.
Replace Danny Rose
Sure, Danny Rose played well at points last season. But his inconsistency and lapse in focus during matches against top competition cost Spurs more than a few goals.
Without Gareth Bale pushing midfielders and defenders deep along the left sideline, the left back position is a greater concern.
I don't know if the answer is in bringing back Benoît Assou-Ekotto, who was loaned out to Championship club Queens Park Rangers last season or in bringing on a fresh face. All I know is that Kyle Walker can hold his own along the right sideline and our stable of central defenders in Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen and Vlad Chiricheș is just fine.
Give It Time
Tottenham spent an astronomical £105 million on making sure they finally had a roster that matched up with their London counterparts in Chelsea and Arsenal. A sixth-place finish would say that they failed. But that's because their seven high-priced transfers all played significant roles last season, and five of them weren't captured until August.
If you're going to bring on Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, Étienne Capoue, Vlad Chiricheș, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela a combined 156 starts, then you've got to expect some growing pains.
We've got to remember that these guys are all from different clubs, all from different countries, and all—except for Chadli and Eriksen—from different domestic leagues.
If Mauricio Pochettino can keep these guys focused, they'll form the nucleus for a strong roster going forward next fall.