4 World Cup Performers Tottenham Hotspur Need
As the World Cup draws ever closer to its climactic finale, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino will be keen to start finalising some key transfer deals over the coming weeks.
Having taken up the reins only a few weeks ago, he may not have had the ideal amount of time to spend with his players, but the 42-year-old Argentine should still be favoured to keep a cool countenance about him in the hunt for big names as the Premier League launch looms large.
With the Premier League fixtures for 2014-15 in the diary, title hopefuls up and down the country will all be vying to land a number of marquee signings between now and the end of August.
Over the course of the world's most respected football competition, in Brazil, fans of the beautiful game have borne witness to countless acts of amazing skill and mental strength from dozens of talented performers—but whether or not the White Hart Lane faithful will be lucky enough to see these technical geniuses at work on their home turf remains to be seen.
No doubt Pochettino has a huge role to play in luring them to north London, and with the promise of Europa League football and a coach's never-say-die mentality that saw him re-develop Southampton from minnows to big matchday threats, there should be quite an exciting influx of players adorning the white of Spurs in the very near future.
And so it's time to take a look at four possible World Cup transfer targets for the Lilywhites.
Shunted out to the wing as a support player to Brazil's Fred, Hulk has been forced to adapt his game as his team go in search of victory on home soil.
And to his credit, the Zenit St. Petersburg star has taken up the mantle incredibly well with a couple of stirring displays in the famous yellow shirt.
Displaying an adaptive style of play as well as a huge dollop of determination and passion, the 27-year-old would certainly be an ideal candidate to help give the Lilywhites the boost up front they clearly need.
Lacking a clinical goalscorer really hindered their ability to put together a consistent series of displays and played a huge role in the instability that led to them needing a change in manager midway through the campaign.
With Roberto Soldado flopping both domestically and in Europe, it was Emmanuel Adebayor who became their top goalscorer, but even he only managed a far-from-prolific 16 goals in all competitions due to an injury-disrupted season.
And with Spurs aiming to become one of England's major players both on the transfer market and in the league standings, it's vital that they have a striker (or two) who can net 20 or more goals a season; a consistent source of goals is something that can make a huge difference at the end of an arduous campaign.
And as per James Dickenson of the Daily Express, the door is still open for the Brazilian to make the move to London.
Hulk, according to ESPN, netted 11 goals across both the Russian Premier League and in the Champions League last season. And while that's not the most amazing of returns, that's from just 17 appearances.
And simple mathematics suggests that he'd have little trouble reaching the 20-goal mark over the course of a 38-game Premier League campaign.
Along with his net-rustling ability, the muscular Brazilian has also shown an effectiveness in setting up team-mates, an assertion backed up by his recent displays under Luiz Felipe Scolari against both Chile and Colombia.
Lighting up the World Cup with a couple of eye-catching displays was Algeria's Yacine Brahimi.
A lively player with lovely close control and quick feet, the Rennes midfielder would certainly add a bit of zip and punch to Tottenham's attack.
Too often last season, they were let down by their own slow-paced build-up as opposition teams found it easier than expected to shut down the attacks that came their way.
Aside from the creative vision and cutting edge of Christian Eriksen, there was little obvious threat tearing its way through to cause headaches for opposing goalkeepers and not a whole lot to get excited about as attacking moves were kick-started.
As reported by the Daily Mirror's John Cross, Tottenham are keeping a close eye on his transfer status, although they're likely to face a bit of stern competition to land his signature from a few other interested parties.
Granted, his transfer might well be viewed as a bit of a risky move as it would be largely based on the back of a decent showing over the course of a mere four matches, but optimists would probably still like to see Pochettino add a different type of player into the mix, if only to give them a new option for when the chips are down.
Overall, Brahimi definitely has the innate talent that excites in a playful way, and if the coaches spent a bit of time nurturing and coaxing those abilities, he might just become the surprise package they clearly need.
Keep an eye on this one.
With Spurs' problems up front a well-known dilemma, speculation has been rife as to just who they'll decide to to zone in on.
After all, getting the decision right is crucial, and if it goes wrong once more, they might just find themselves languishing outside the top four for yet another season.
But on paper, Martinez looks like a very solid investment, and he seems like the type of player who would meld seamlessly into life at White Hart Lane. At 6'1", he's a tall and effective striker who could prove himself a deadly finisher provided the midfield continues to build on the promise it showed last season.
The problem with Spurs so far since the departure of Welsh international Gareth Bale has been a real lack of an ability to move the ball quickly through to the men up front. They have also lacked a top-notch forward that lives and breathes goal scoring.
A quick look at his statistics shows that the man from Quibdo, Colombia, netted an impressive 20 goals last season in the Primeira Liga after making 30 appearances—quite a prolific return.
And at just 27 years of age, he's still got plenty of years left at the top level.
Perhaps not the marquee signing many Tottenham fans would have expected to see leading the line after the huge influx of Bale-induced cash that came through the books last season, he might just be the striker they need more than the one they want.
And although Colombia have been knocked out of this year's competition, Martinez made sure he made his mark before exiting—scoring two goals against Japan in their impressive 4-1 Group C victory.
If Pochettino swoops, he'll be hoping the Colombian is not just another empty promise, and he'll have his fingers crossed he's capable of making the switch to the Premier League.
Having frittered away so much revenue on players who simply haven't cut it so far at the highest level, it might surprise many to see Mathew Leckie's name on this list.
But football snobbery is something that just won't do if Tottenham want to get back to the days of winning silverware.
The truth is, Australia's pacey wide man was a refreshing sight when the Aussies took to the pitch in Brazil, and he was a real handful for both the Netherlands and Chile. And there was little sign of fatigue despite the fact Ange Postecoglou's men travelled the farthest in Group B.
Coming into the competition very much under the radar, it's fair to say the FC Ingolstadt man, who transferred only very recently from FSV Frankfurt, was undervalued and underrated by pretty much everyone.
Plying his trade in the Bundesliga's second division, the 23-year-old hasn't had the experience he clearly craves to bring his natural game on in the leaps and bounds it deserves, but if Spurs chairman Daniel Levy was to take a punt on securing his services, it's likely he'd be rewarded with a season of hard work and dedication.
Aggressive and willing, his approach play would add another gear to their play and would allow them to up the tempo, too.
And although Tottenham already possess quite a few players in his mould such as Belgian winger Nacer Chadli as well as Aaron Lennon, Leckie would still be worth signing, particularly as he wouldn't cost the earth.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, Leckie could yet transfer clubs once more if a team such as Spurs were to swoop in and trigger his release clause for only a few million.
And as he's such a burgeoning talent, making waves against some of the best players in the business, it's clear the young right-winger still has a lot more to offer than we've already seen.
Whether or not the powers that be reach for the chequebook or not, though, remains to be seen.