The clock is ticking. In less than two weeks’ time, the transfer market will be closed for business. Premier League clubs will not be able to add to their squads until the summer. If Tottenham wants to finish in the top four this season, it is essential that they sign a striker in the next 10 days.
Harry Kane is one of the best center-forwards in the world. But Spurs will have to make do without their talisman until April at the earliest. The official timetable looks optimistic. Experts such as Chris Wilson, a leading surgeon, expect the hamstrung Kane to be absent for six months.
Jose Mourinho was understandably concerned when Kane suffered the injury against Southampton in December. He knew instantly that Spurs’ chances of a top-four finish had suddenly become significantly slimmer.
Ever since Kane broke through in 2014/15, Tottenham has struggled to find a suitable deputy. Mauricio Pochettino did not take to Emmanuel Adebayor. Roberto Soldado failed to adapt to Premier League football. Vincent Janssen looked out of his depth. The ageing Fernando Llorente was never going to be a long-term option.
Even so, the Llorente model is what Spurs should be looking at now. The north London club signed the Spaniard from Swansea in 2017. At 32, his best years were behind him. That meant Llorente did not expect to play week in, week out. He knew that he had been acquired to simply provide cover for Kane.
A similar arrangement would suit Spurs this month. Diego Costa and Edinson Cavani are out of favor at Atletico Madrid and PSG, respectively. Either player would add presence and experience to Jose Mourinho’s frontline.
Under a different head coach, Tottenham might not need to bring in a striker. Pochettino deployed Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min up front at times last term. The former scored a memorable hat-trick in the Champions League semi-final victory over Ajax.
Unfortunately for Spurs, neither player fits the profile of a Mourinho striker. The Portuguese wants someone who is physical and can lead the line. He prizes hold-up play and back-to-goal work. In short, Mourinho values attributes that neither Lucas nor Son possess.
That means it is vital that chairman Daniel Levy gets the checkbook out. Tottenham’s season is far from over. They are eighth in the Premier League but only eight points off fourth. They face Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup this weekend. And Mourinho’s side will resume their Champions League campaign in the knockout phase next month.
Tottenham still has plenty to play for this season. Signing a new striker could be the difference between success and failure.
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Last modified: January 23, 2020 11:35 AM UTC