Over the last couple of years Tottenham have had a key theme underpinning their transfer activity; value. They don’t shop for need necessarily, but if the value is right they will make the move. Hugo Lloris, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson were hardly need fillers but all offered great value. The same can be said for Emmanuel Adebayor, Rafa van der Vaart and Scott Parker. They seem to have left the days where they would spend £15m on David Bentley well behind them. They have also recently moved on from their strategy of harvesting young English based players; the likes of Aaron Lennon, Gareth Bale, Michael Dawson and Kyle Walker have all made their way to the first team from that phase. They could look to go down either of those routes:
Youssuf Mulumbu – West Brom
Scout Report A powerful, hard-working defensive midfielder, Mulumbu is good at breaking up the attacks of opponents. His agility and strength means that he is both good at intercepting and strong in the tackle. He has a wonderful enthusiasm for work and his selfless approach rubs off on his team-mates. He is tidy on the ball and rarely makes mistakes.
Where does he fit? Andre Villas-Boas has tended to deploy two deep midfielders to allow Bale a free license. Sandro is injury plagued and Scott Parker hasn’t reached the levels of a couple of seasons ago. Mulumbu is 26, experienced in the Premier League and can play straight away. He would be a valuable piece in the midfield.
How much? West Brom do their business efficiently so a bid of £6-7m would represent a good profit for them. It fits nicely in Spurs’ value range too. His contract expires in 2014 so it’s a similar situation to Dempsey.
Radja Nainggolan – Cagliari
Scout Report Nainggolan is a 24 year old Belgian midfield dynamo. A genuine all rounder, he is tough, energetic and composed on the ball. Having dropped deeper in to the midfield than he played in his youth, he is better using his aggression in his new deeper position. He is all action, gets in your face, takes the ball off you and then picks out a quality pass. Yet another Belgian superstar in the making.
Where does he fit? Spurs don’t really have anyone like him at the moment. He offers a bit more on the ball than Sandro and Parker and with some seasoning and experience could become a dominant presence.
How much? Cagliari are not in a strong enough financial position to resist good offers. Something like £12m would do it, which for a 24 year old potential superstar is very good value. His contract also expires in 2014 so the £12m is a discount on his true value. Spurs should pounce on him whilst they can.
Christian Eriksen – Ajax
Scout Report A sublimely talented young man, Eriksen has been compared to no lesser than his idol Michael Laudrup. Possessing of all the finest attacking qualities, Eriksen is technically supreme. He has rapid feet and can receive and move the ball before the defender gets near him. He pops up with his share of goals and provides a supply line of opportunities to his strikers. He gets himself in to areas that are very difficult to defend. You can keep him quiet for 88 minutes and then he will do something magical to win a game. He’s like watching a Danish Andres Iniesta.
Where does he fit? Spurs have had some problems unlocking defences at times when their A game breaks down over the last couple of years. If Bale gets shut down they can look a bit listless. They have added Lewis Holtby to try and provide that but brining in Eriksen too would give them an amazing creative hub. If they can find a striker to take all the chances Eriksen, Holtby and Bale create they could work themselves towards being a serious Premier League dark horse.
How much? Another whose contract expires in 2014, reducing his true value, Eriksen could probably be acquired for around £15m which could prove to a monster snip. It’s about what they laid out to get Luka Modric, who was at a similar stage of his career.
Christian Benteke – Aston Villa
Scout Report Benteke is an absolute powerhouse of a young striker. That he has made such a dramatic impact playing in such an awful Aston Villa side is testament to his potential. He has pace, power and goals to offer. Dominant in the air and in the hold-up phase, he is a worthy target man and can only get better at just 22.
Where does he fit? Spurs need a striker. Adebayor has looked ineffective and Defoe blows too hot and cold for a title challenge. Benteke would give Spurs a completely different option, able to nod home crosses and race on to the tight passes that the creative players are able to feed him with. He could easily score 20+ goals with such good players around him considering what he has done at Villa.
How much? This would depend completely on whether or not Villa get relegated. If they do then he could probably be had for around £7m, but if they stay up they are in such dire financial straits that surely a bid in the £13m range would sorely tempt them to sell. Spurs could comfortably afford that if they make the Champions League.
Jackson Martinez – FC Porto
Scout Report Martinez is the latest striker to attend the Porto finishing school and emerge with his reputation rapidly enhanced. He has already scored 23 goals in Portugal this season, which compares favourably with alumni Radamel Falcao and Hulk. He has pace and inventiveness to match his finishing abilities. When he gets in to a groove he can be impossible to stop.
Where does he fit? Tottenham love pace in attack and they need someone to take chances more ruthlessly. AVB could tell him to roam around the defensive line waiting to be put through on goal and not worry about involving himself in general play. The sight of Martinez and Bale hurtling at defences together would terrify opposition managers.
How much? Porto are a hard club to buy from so this probably wouldn’t be their priority. It depends if they sell anyone else, which would drive the price up, but if Spurs move quickly he could be gotten for £12-15m.