Tottenham transfer focus - Marc-André ter Stegen could be perfect fit as new Spurs keeper
With doubts over whether Tottenham Hotspur’s chase of Hugo Lloris will be successful and links to Inter Milan's out of form and apparently unwanted Julio Cesar, Spurs perhaps need to reassess their goalkeeping targets. If so, they should arguably be looking at young German keeper Marc-André ter Stegen.
In the 2010/11 season, Borussia Möenchengladbach goalkeepers Christofer Heimeroth and Logan Bailly contributed to the sacking of Coach Michael Frontzeck by conceding 61 goals in the games they played between them. New boss Lucien Favre decided to stick with Bailly, but ran out of patience in April with his side bottom of the league, and brought in 18-year-old Marc-André ter Stegen.
Almost immediately the results started to turn around, and in eight games until the end of the season - including the relegation playoffs - only four goals were conceded, preserving Die Fohlen’s Bundesliga status. Ter Stegen was handed the number 1 jersey last season, and played every minute of the campaign in a team which conceded only 24 goals and claimed 15 clean sheets on the way to a surprise Champions League qualification.
Should Spurs look at ter Stegen, he appears to have it all. The 20-year-old is strong at shot stopping and with close range saves, keeping out 81% of all shots against him last season. His command of the penalty area was impressive, which is crucial with the Premier League’s physicality. He made 95 high claims, caught 53 crosses and made 24 catches from corner kicks.
This alone may be enough for Spurs to be interested but there are other elements to ter Stegen’s game that should make him the number one target. André Villas-Boas will probably play a high line, playing the offside trap and a pressing game. Key to this will be a keeper that can act as a sweeper, and have good distribution. Ter Stegen can play the sweeper role, as could be seen against Freiburg last season, when at one point he controlled the ball 35 yards out to stop an attack.
As for his distribution, 23 goal kicks and 260 throws reached teammates. Perhaps more importantly for a sweeping role, he attempted 1208 passes last season with a 75% success rate including a high completion rate of long balls. Both these aspects are important in sweeping, keeping possession or starting moves.
In a golden period for German keepers, ter Stegen made the provisional squad for Euro 2012 after playing only 40 league games. He has been compared to Oliver Kahn, but perhaps is more reminiscent of Peter Schmeichel, not just from ability but presence, character and the way he communicates with his defence.
Ter Stegen would arguably be an excellent fit for Villas-Boas’ Spurs, and at 20, fit Daniel Levy’s model of buying talented youngsters. The young German is certainly that.
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