Spurs and Leandro Damiao, two names that have been linked together for the last two years; could this summer see them come together at last? Well, maybe, but more importantly, would he be a good signing? Is he worth such a long pursuit? The key thing to remember with him is this; don’t just look at the stats, you have to understand the whole story first.
The short answer to the question is, yes. Spurs have a big problem up front. Jermaine Defoe has a long established career pattern. He scores goals in bursts and bundles, scores spectacular goals, scores big goals, but doesn’t score reliably. He is also ‘just’ a goal scorer. That in itself isn’t a slight on him, someone needs to just score, but it makes him less than ideal for Andre Villas-Boas’ system and means that he can never get to the level above really good Premier League striker. His touch is decent and despite his small stature he can hold it up well enough but his distribution is basic and his inventiveness almost non existent. He’s sharp paced but not electric. Good but not great. As for Emmanuel Adebayor, his ceiling is much higher than Defoe’s, his optimum performance of a higher class but he’s even more inconsistent. His physical gifts are manna from heaven for Premier League success, but he doesn’t use them effectively enough. He should dominate defenders with his strength and pace, he should score 25 goals a season with his technical quality and positioning. He should be the fulcrum of the attack, allowing Gareth Bale, Lewis Holtby and Aaron Lennon to buzz around him causing chaos. But only sometimes does he do that. More often than not he doesn’t. This is where Damiao comes in.
Leandro Damiao will be 24 at season’s start, is 6ft 1 1/2′, quick, strong, tough and has a poacher’s eye for goal. He draws comparisons to Brazilian Ronaldo in his pomp in his homeland. One of things that might alarm Spurs fans is his goals stats. In his years as a starter he has scored 8, 18, and 17 all competitions goals. That is a strike rate of less than the desired one in two. That is in an open Brazilian championship, more known for goals than for defence. Spurs fans may read that and wonder how he can be worth all the fuss. Is he not another Adebayor/Defoe type, all the gifts but not reliable enough?
The key thing to look at are his team mates at Internacional whilst he has been there. There’s no Bale, Lennon or Dembele supplying him. He’s pretty much had to make all of his goals himself. In the current squad, the only other international quality player is defensive midfielder Willians. Last season the club finished 10th in the league, which was proceeded by 5th and 7th placed finishes. He’s not like Neymar, playing in a team where he is surrounded by talent. He’s the only top-quality player and yet still has managed good returns.
This is why he can be a big success at Spurs: He’s a prototypical build for the Premier League, he is used to playing as a lone front man, both for Internacional and for Brazil, he has good touch and the ability to bring others in to play high up the field. He has scored well despite poor quality supply in Brazil. If Spurs keep Gareth Bale he will have the best supply line in the world. Add him to Lewis Holtby who should improve markedly with a full pre-season, Aaron Lennon and Moussa Dembele and even the overlapping full backs and he will have all the supply he can dream of. Spurs have lacked for a clinical finisher, and that is exactly what Damiao is. You don’t score 35 goals in two seasons with negligible opportunities unless you are a potent finisher. He is exactly that, and exactly what Spurs need.