Last season, Tottenham won the battle but lost the war against neighbours Arsenal. They got the better of their rivals twice in the derbies with a draw away and a home win, but in the end they lost out on a top four finish, and will be gracing the Europa League again for another season.
Having finished six points out of the top four last season, Tottenham showed glimpses of how good they can be on their day. They famously beat the future champions Chelsea 5-2 after being behind by two, and beat Arsenal 2-1 at White Hart Line with one of their own Harry Kane scoring the winner. With the right signings, Tottenham can build on last season and battle in the Colosseum of football, the Champions League, instead of the overshadowed fight pit that is Europa League.
Up until Harry Kane burst on the scene, Tottenham’s strikers were struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. The mediocre pair of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldaldo failed to inspire the fans with any confidence. It was only from the end of 2014 that a Tottenham striker looked lethal in the form of Harry Kane. Kane carried Tottenham and made himself a household name in 2015, but he is only one man and has only had a good half season. Plenty of players have been one season wonders, so Tottenham need another striker that can pick up the goalscoring if Harry Kane is out of form or gets injured. In a world where proven available strikers are few and far between, as shown by Manchester United and Arsenal’s hunt, Tottenham have been linked with Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez. He spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, and showed what he is capable of when he is given starts towards the end of the campaign with goals against Atletico Madrid and performances like that against Celta Vigo. He is just the striker Tottenham should sign as before his loan to Spain he was a proven Premier League goal scorer and he would suit spurs style. He is much different and more effective than Soldado and Adebayor as he makes the runs in behind the opposition that lead playmaker Christian Eriksen would love. He also stretches the defence so the wide players in Nasir Chadli and Erik Lamela could cut in and exploit pockets of space. He would be a great signing to Spurs and improve their chances of a top four finish.
A position which was arguably their weakest last season, Spurs need a centre defensive midfielder. They need someone who can screen the backfour with a great passing range, positioning and tackling. Two players that are similar but contrasted by age Tottenham should target are William Carvalho and Thiago Motta. Sporting Lisbon’s William Carvalho has been linked with a move to Arsenal, but so have a lot of players. The twenty three year old star shined as an anchor in midfield for Portugal recently in the under 21 Euro’s. This is the role that Tottenham need as he possesses all the skills required as he has the aforementioned passing range, positioning, and tackling. Carvalho is also Yaya Toure-esque in the way that he can make bulldozing runs from the midfield into the oppositions third.
Thiago Motta is the other name that Tottenham should take note of. Spurs have been linked with the want-away PSG star. Motta is currently thirty two but celebrates his thirty third birthday this month. Although in the twilight of his career, Motta is still one of the best holding midfielders in the world and would offer Tottenham’s young midfield what Carvalho couldn’t, experience. Motta is a champions league winner with Jose Mourinho’s famous Inter side, and from there he moved to Paris Saint Germain and has picked up multiple domestic medals. Although not as mobile as Carvalho, Motta’s positioning, intelligence and passing is better. The Italian wouldn’t be a long term solution to Spurs midfield, but he would push their top four prospects for the upcoming season.
Tottenham currently have four wingers in Andros Townsend, Nasir Chadli, Erik Lamela and Aaron Lennon. The latter though has one foot out the door as it appears he has no future with the club. The other three though have struggled for consistency in the Premier League. Townsend arrived on the scene when Tim Sherwood was in charge. He appeared to be a breath of fresh air but defenders soon realised his reliability on cutting in on his left and shooting from range. Chadli started last season scoring goals at important times for Tottenham, but wasn’t consistent later on in the season. Lamela has arguably been the worst of the three having struggled to adapt to the Premier League since his big money move in 2013. What Tottenham need is a consistent winger. Tottenham are linked with Crystal Palace’s Yannick Bolasie. Bolasie is a winger with a lot of flair, but Palace have reportedly slapped a 25 million pound price tag on him. Bolasie would be a good option as he was one of the Premier Legaue’s best wingers last season, his best moment when he terrorised Liverpool in Palace’s dominant 3-1 victory last season. He is known for his silky dribbling and skills, but Tottenham should only consider him for a maximum of 10 million pounds as playing for a team like Palace with the objective of avoiding relegation is different to playing with Tottenham targeting Champions League football.
Other wingers Tottenham should consider signing are Bayer Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi or Inter’s Xherdan Shaqiri. Bellarabi is a tricky player who possesses a fair amount of pace on the right hand side of midfield. He had a strong campaign for Leverkusen and has the ability to cut inside or run down the line. He started Germany’s last Euro Qualifier in their dominant win over Gibraltar and managed to get on the scoresheet. This performance showed that he can take his game to another level by playing with the international side. The other winger Tottenham should target is Switzerland international Xherdan Shaqiri. Shaqiri can play as either a striker or winger, and like Bellarabi, can cut both inside and out. He has a great burst of acceleration and is hard to push off the ball with his low centre of gravity. Having played for both Bayern and Inter, and having had a great World Cup in Brazil, Shaqiri has plenty of experience and would fit into the Premier League easily.
So far Spurs have mainly focused on improving their defence in the transfer window with their signings of Toby Alderweireld, Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer. Alderweireld is the by far the best signing after having a great season for Southampton, but for Tottenham to challenge for top four, they need a conistent striker, holding midfielder and winger, and the players mentioned are just who they need.