Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly set to try to land the notable capture of Antoine Griezmann from Real Sociedad, a transfer that would be a real coup for the new Tottenham boss.
ESPN reports a situation in which Spurs will be forced to pay top dollar for the 23-year-old forward, who has consistently impressed over the past year.
Tottenham have reportedly had one bid, understood to be £15 million, turned down after Socieded insisted the winger would not leave for anything less than his buyout clause of £25m.
Matt Law of the Telegraph reinforces the North London club's need to meet Sociedad's demands, especially as Monaco and Chelsea are monitoring the situation. Both of these mega-rich clubs could offer Griezmann higher wages, the chance to play Champions League football and a more likely shot at silverware.
Both ESPN and Law suggest that Griezmann is being targeted as a direct replacement for Gareth Bale, who departed White Hart Lane last summer. The Welshman's explosive qualities have come to the fore since heading to Real Madrid, where he managed to outshine Griezmann during his debut season in Spain:
|Antoine Griezmann vs. Gareth Bale: 2013-14 La Liga Stats|
|Player||Apps.||Goals||Assists||Shots per app.||Successful Dribbles||Pass Accuracy|
|Antoine Griezmann||31 (4)||16||3||3.2||0.7||77.2%|
|Gareth Bale||24 (3)||15||12||3.3||2.1||76.3%|
While Bale offered a goal every 1.8 appearances and an assist every 2.25, Griezmann's numbers fall short in comparison: He posted a successful strike every 2.19 games and an assist every 11.67. It's worth noting that Griezmann didn't play alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Angel Di Maria every week, a factor that is sure to have increased Bale's productivity.
Even so, the versatile Frenchman doesn't possess the same type of power as Bale. He is creative, and although he needs to work on his end product to be considered in the elite, he nevertheless has the potential to continue improving.
A big-money transfer to North London will coax many into considering the fate of Erik Lamela, who offered similar quality at Roma before losing his form and fitness under Andre Villas-Boas at Spurs.
Lamela notes the arrival of Pochettino as a real boost, saying, "I have recovered from my injuries, we have a new manager, and I cannot wait to play. I am confident you will see a much better me this season," reported by The Sun (subscription required) and via ESPN.
Spurs are on the verge of completing their first signing of the summer, in the shape of Michel Vorm, who will challenge Hugo Lloris for the No. 1 spot, per Sky Sports:
This deal may have softened Spurs into letting Gylfi Sigurdsson return to Swansea. The Icelandic midfielder made just 19 starts across the domestic division and Europa League last season after previously enjoying a fantastic spell at the Liberty Stadium. His potential move is also reported by Sky Sports:
Pochettino faces the difficult task of rejuvenating Spurs' current squad while slowly trying to bring in new players during his first transfer window in charge. Last year's signings largely failed to bed in but do leave the Argentinian manager with plenty of tactical options heading into the new campaign.
He will still want to land one or two of his own targets to aid an immediate impact. Pochettino proved himself to be a motivator at Southampton—someone who allowed his players to find their best form through an expressive freedom on the pitch—a style he will be confident of replicating at Spurs.