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Tottenham Focus - Should Spurs go all out for Holtby in January?

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By Alan Robins

Friday 25 January 2013

This month Tottenham signed arguably one of the jewels of the Bundesliga and a product of the German youth system - Lewis Holtby. Out of contract at Schalke in the summer, Holtby was free to sign for any team in another league. Spurs won the race, thanks, according to Holtby, in large part to André Villas-Boas being Tottenham coach. Fans will have particularly enjoyed beating rivals Arsenal to his signature. Spurs now appear willing to pay for a player they have signed for free so he can join in January. The question is should they?

Lewis Holtby

The argument for bringing Holtby in this month appears to centre around the loss of Sandro for the rest of the season. This in itself would not appear to make any sense. Sandro has been superb for Spurs this season and his loss will be keenly felt, but Holtby - who is versatile enough to play in many positions - is not a defensive midfielder. With Scott Parker stepping in and Tom Huddlestone or Jake Livermore, if they stay, the defensive midfield position is covered.

Holtby can play in centre midfield, but more in the Moussa Dembelé role, or in the attacking midfield, No. 10 position. As such, is he perceived as the creative link needed to break down the defence when the opposition has parked the bus? His record in assists and key passes looks good but perhaps it is his all-round ability which Spurs want most.

Add to assists and key passes, goals and a high passing accuracy. He also seems to cover most of the pitch in a match and certainly contributes defensively to his team’s cause. Arguably all his attributes were captured in Schalke’s recent 5-4 victory over Hannover 96.

Holtby pressurized the opposition defensively, won tackles and made interceptions as well as making three key passes, two assists and scoring once himself. However, while Holtby does score goals he is not prolific. Spurs may still need another striker. With Emmanuel Adebayor in poor form, Spurs are only a Jermain Defoe injury away from trouble.

However, is there a cautionary tale in the message this chase sends to Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson? While the Icelander struggled initially, his performances have improved recently coming on from the bench and Dempsey has been in sparkling form. The American may be not be the most creative of players but runs his socks off and, as seen in both matches against Manchester United, has the knack of being in the right place at the right time to score vital goals.

Villas-Boas has shown faith in Defoe and Aaron Lennon and this faith has been repaid, particularly from Lennon, who has been outstanding. Why would the coach do the opposite now with Dempsey and Sigurdsson?

Perhaps though it is just perception; is the constant “add a bit here to the offer” turning this into an unseemly public saga? If Villas-Boas wants Holtby now to strengthen the squad for the second half of the season, should chairman Daniel Levy not support his coach - and show Holtby how highly he is valued - by making the right offer?

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Norwich v Tottenham

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