Tottenham Club Focus – Redknapp faces challenge to boost forward options

Tottenham Hotspur regained fifth place on Sunday, running out 3-1 winners against Queens Park Rangers. Spurs played some sublime attacking football during the match with a mix of possession, one and two-touch passing, movement and vision opening up the opponent’s defence on numerous occasions. A total of 25 shots – 10 on target – and 81% pass accuracy gave indications of how good Tottenham can be.

Performances such as this will lead to questions of Spurs’ strikers. Emmanuel Adebayor, Rafael van der Vaart and Jermain Defoe have all started the season well. The probable exception is Roman Pavlyuchenko. The Russian has complained about lack of playing time and stated a desire to leave in January. Spurs have some fine forward prospects on their books such as Harry Kane, Cristian Ceballos and Souleymane Coulibaly, but this season might be too soon for any of them to step up to the first-team squad to replace him.

There may be various potential considerations in signing a new striker. The three main strikers appear established for the season. Nevertheless, Adebayor is on loan and unless willing to accept a pay cut will go next May. Do Spurs sign an experienced, older striker who can accept being on the bench, or similarly a younger player who may accept his chances will be more limited and again be more prepared to “warm the bench”? Either may be less disruptive than a striker who wants to play but cannot get in the starting line-up. Should Spurs, bearing in mind Adebayor’s season loan, try to sign a top striker to challenge for a starting place, knowing this may create some disharmony in a Tottenham outfit that looks to generally have a good team spirit? Finally, considering Spurs’ style of play, does manager Harry Redknapp look for a striker who can fit the style or an out-and-out finisher? Another factor worth consideration is ineligibility in Europe and the upcoming African Nations Cup, which may rule out Redknapp targeting some top strikers like Seydou Doumbia, Fernando Llorente, Roberto Soldado or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Unless Redknapp is perhaps prepared to play them domestically and Adebayor more in Europe, the manager’s choices could appear to be limited further.

Accepting this, who could be potential targets for The Lilywhites? One player attracting attention is Blackburn’s David ‘Junior’ Hoilett. In 10 league starts he has two goals and three assists, is fast and commits defenders. Looking at the lower divisions Adam Lallana has four goals, 17 shots on target and five assists in 11 league games. Southampton are playing flowing, attractive football and Lallana may fit Spurs’ style. Would Alessandro del Piero, the Juventus legend with a wealth of European experience, be open to a new challenge at the Lane? A potentially interesting signing, even if just to the end of the season. One player who might be a premium signing for Spurs could be Lukas Podolski. Still only 26, the German international has six goals and three assists this season, averaging a goal just over every three shots, following on from 14 goals and six assists last season. These are difficult choices for Redknapp, but crucial, as this may have a major impact on the second half of the season and the chances of a top-four finish.

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