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Tottenham transfer focus - Spurs look to replace Modric with Moutinho or Malaga players


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By Alan Robins

Friday 20 July 2012

The Luka Modric transfer saga appears in danger of becoming almost Arsenal-like in its protractedness. Ironically, whilst Daniel Levy is playing hardball with Real Madrid, insisting that the Croatian playmaker will not leave for less than £35m, Porto are doing the same with his targeted replacement João Moutinho. The Portuguese club are insisting his release clause - around £30m - must be met by Spurs. This may cause Levy to reconsider Moutinho as a target. Accordingly, the media are stating Tottenham are looking at other options.



The Daily Mail is reporting that one such option is Santiago Cazorla of Malaga, the player apparently in dispute with his club over unpaid wages. Perhaps at 27 years of age he is slightly older than what might be ideal for Levy, but Cazorla is a European Championship winner with Spain in 2008 and 2012, only missing the 2010 World Cup due to a hernia. Cazorla moved to Malaga from Villarreal only a year ago, and was an instant hit, making 38 La Liga appearances and helping his side to Champions League qualification.


The Spaniard is arguably the versatile type of player André Villas-Boas would be looking for. Able to play across the front three but primarily in midfield, Cazorla’s passing accuracy is one of his main strengths, along with his crossing and set-piece play. What also marks him out as a viable option is his defensive contribution to the team, making 100 interceptions and winning 82 tackles last season. As well as weighing in with five assists, he also scored nine goals, and finished second highest scorer only to another rumoured target, José Salomón Rondon.


Spurs’ search for at least one striker is continuing. With delays in the completion of Emmanuel Adebayor's signing, amid rumoured interest from Locomotiv Moscow, the White Hart Lane outfit are being linked with other hitmen, noticeably Rondon, as reported in the Daily Mail. Again, rumours of a financial crisis at Malaga appear to be behind a potential player move.


The Venezuelan striker was top scorer for Los Boquerones last season, netting in la Liga 11 times from 97 shots in 28 starts. This was the second season running that Rondon was top scorer for Malaga, scoring 14 goals from 74 shots, again with 28 starts in the previous campaign. Although the goals per shots ratio may appear to need improving, some of the goals were vital in securing narrow victories that ensured the Champions League qualification.


Rondon is still only 22 years old - which may be more in line with Levy’s transfer policy - but made his international debut at 18 and has gone on to score eight times in 24 appearances. The Venezuelan appears an out-and-out striker and his profile of finishing, heading and dribbling does appear similar, though not yet as prolific, to one of Villas-Boas' former players, Falcao. Perhaps Rondon is a slightly rawer version of the Colombian, and if so, Spurs could be chasing an unpolished diamond.


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