Four Affordable Strikers That Could Lead The Tottenham Line

Marko

It’s certainly no secret that Tottenham have faced a striking crisis of concerning proportions for the past few seasons. How wistfully we recall memories of the free-scoring Keane and Berbatov partnership of yesteryear, as if the footage were now only available in crackling sepia.

Cavani or Falcao may be realistic options in popular management simulations, but outside of the chasm that is a crusty Kleenex clad den of fantasy, the club’s stringent wage structure and infrequent Champions League appearances would surely put paid to any such headline grabbing ‘marquee signings’.

Emmanuel Adebayor has done little to unite fans this season, with stuttering form and an at times a questionable take on professionalism; he’s almost unrecognisable from the all action forward man whose form convinced Daniel Levy to make his loan move from Manchester City permanent.

The much lauded youth team at Spurs, despite wowing many with heroics in the Next-Gen series and other such competitions, has thus far provided very little in the way of a striker with the ability to break into the first team. Harry Kane, currently with the biggest claim to a first team spot, has thus far struggled to inspire confidence that he's ready to lead the line for Tottenham.

All of this has left Spurs relying on Jermain Defoe for goals, and despite his ability to hit the back of the net on a semi-regular basis, there are a number of opinions in difference as to what else if anything, he brings to the current system.

Spurs have tendency to, not so much unearth a gem, but take a punt on those who the 'big boys' have felt are not quite up to it, such as one Luka Modric or a certain Dimitar Berbatov. The following suggestions fit within the Levy mindset and framework of; affordability, high potential, sell on value and blossoming talent.

Luis Muriel 

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The compact Colombian is a striker cast from a similar mould as Defoe, albeit slightly taller. Said to possess pace, decent dribbling ability and a wicked shot, he operates very much as an out and out striker. Dubbed the 'Colombian Ronaldo' this is surely based more on his appearance, and not that he possesses the same prodigal talent that the now portly Brazilian once gifted world football.

His (respectfully) meager scoring record, and reports of an iffy first touch, would suggest that he's far from the finished article. However, at only 21 years of age he has amazing potential and has turned heads elsewhere in Serie A, most notably with Juventus who are said to be keeping tabs on his progress.

Purchased for around 1.8 million Euros from Deportivo Cali in 2010, he has had loan spells with Granada in Spain and Lecce in Italy and has recently broken in to the Colombian international side.

His high work rate and compact frame should see him handle the physical rigors of the Premier League, however a history of South Americans struggling to adapt to life in England would be justifiably worth considering as a negative.

However, provided he continues to progress professionally, it stands to reason that he would command a considerable sell on fee if purchased for around the £6-7million mark.

VERDICT: Definitely worth considering, his direct approach would surely be an asset when considering the amount of great chances floundered by the existing Tottenham forwards. The jury is definitely still out on just how good Muriel currently is, let alone potentially, with his form stuttering somewhat at times, thus meaning he may prove more of a gamble than other options available.

Stevan Jovetic

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Probably the player most comparable to Luka Modric or Dimitar Berbatov in terms of prestige, pre-Tottenham, on the list. Jovetic has attracted interest from all corners of Europe with his continual improvement and eye-catching performances in Serie A and the Champions League. Most recently linked with a £25million move to our red friends from Woolwich, Jovetic is said to be waiting until the end of the season to consider his options.

Since moving to Fiorentina from Partizan Belgrade, the wiry Montenegrin has grown in stature. Said to be a highly focused professional and all round team player, he is known for his silky dribbling skills and strong work ethic. Jovetic is also a natural leader, not only is he Fiorentina's current vice-captain, but he was Partizan's youngest ever captain at only 18 years old.

His hold up play outside of the box provides a valuable link between the midfield and attack, and his attacking versatility would be ideal for Andre Villas-Boas to manipulate in the current system. Despite this, Jovetic is not an ‘out and out’ striker as his modest goal tally suggests, and Spurs would likely need to capture another forward to play alongside him.

Another potential red flag to a deal could surround his injury record, most notably a serious lay off following a cruciate ligament injury at a young age, enough to have any chairman sweating when considering a deal priced in the tens of millions.

Although he'd cost a lot to bring in, if he carries on the same upward curve he's thus far travelled and manages to put aside any further serious injury concerns, there's no reason why he wouldn't attain a sizable profit in future should we ever come to sell.

VERDICT: His ability would justify a potentially large transfer fee, but could see Spurs restricted when considering strengthening other areas of the club as well. Added to this, firm interest has already been lodged from several 'bigger' fish than ourselves, which may make capturing this up and coming star extremely difficult.

Rodrigo Moreno Machado

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In comparison to the others on this list, Rodrigo is unique in the respect that he has previous Premier League experience. Loaned to Bolton Wanderers in the 2010/11 season, Rodrigo played a total of 17 times, scoring just once for the Trotters. Despite his largely under whelming impact at the time, Rodrigo left a lasting

impression with former boss Owen Coyle;

"We used him as an impact player, coming off the bench, and he was really mature for a boy who was just 19. I had been scouting Real Madrid and Barcelona's B teams a lot then and Rodrigo caught my eye, but was just 17. We tried to buy him when we got Marcos Alonso from Real because I knew he was going to be a top player. However, Real wanted him to be part of the deal when they were buying Di Maria. Benfica paid £5m for Rodrigo, but they felt he was not quite ready and that a year with us in the English Premier League would serve him well.”

"In training every day, he was outstanding and showed amazing skills. He managed one goal for us against Wigan and I wanted to bring him back for a second season, but then he scored for Spain in the European Championship under-20 finals and Benfica realised how much he had come on."

It's worth remembering that Rodrigo's spell at Bolton not only came at a young age, but also during a period of uncertainty, with a series of transfers and loan spells between Brazil, Spain and Portugal. Since settling at Benfica, Rodrigo has certainly begun to blossom.

Boasting pace, strength, shooting ability with both feet and competitive technique in the air, Rodrigo is well on his way to becoming the complete package for Spain. Given the abundance of talent within the national pool, it says a lot that the young striker was convinced to switch national allegiance and be available for selection over his native Brazil.

He can operate anywhere across the forward line, and on either wing, cutting inside and utilising his ability with both feet to great effect. Heralded for his ability to read the game fantastically, and flourish within a technical system where positional versatility is key, he would undoubtedly combine seamlessly with the likes of Lennon, Bale and Holtby.

Benfica are certainly in no need to sell one of their prized assets, and his lengthy contract would unlikely see him be available on the cheap. However, were a price in the region quoted above (£8.8m) be attainable, then a profit could certainly be gained if he were to be sold. The player has remained on Real's radar ever since leaving them, with the Madrid club reluctantly relinquishing their buy back option, thought to be 12 million Euros, as part of the deal that saw them sign Fábio Coentrão.

VERDICT: Well travelled, complete with Premier League experience and an eagerness to ever adapt his game, Rodrigo may well be a 'Galactico' once again in the near future. Rodrigo could well be the complete package that Spurs are looking for, despite the fact he may not be the 20 goal a year man that once seemed so important, what he could bring to the team as a whole could prove invaluable for years to come.

Marko Arnautovic

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Like any good list, the last space should always be reserved for a wild card. That said, step forward Marko Arnautovic.

Considered somewhat of a livewire, Arnautovic's youth career was subject to a series of disciplinarily indiscretions, which are said to have put off interest from PSV Eindhoven. However, after impressing during his early years in the Dutch league for FC Twente, the Austrian born forward was snapped up by Inter Milan, initially on loan but with a view to buy.

Unfortunately for Arnautovic, injury forced him to the sidelines for a lot of his time spent in Italy. Despite this, the Austrian was hardly bending over backwards to endear himself to the coaching staff, with the then head coach José Mourinho describing him as having the “attitude of a child.” Inter soon decided that they weren’t interested in making his loan move permanent, and sent him back to Twente.

Not particularly keen on taking a backwards step, Arnautovic stated his desire to leave Twente and with his contract close to expiring, they were only too eager to take what they could for the troubled forward.

However, Arnautovic’s early Werder career was once again blighted by issues with his personality, and following a bar brawl the German side were close to showing him the same door they’d welcomed him into just months earlier.

Since then though, it appears that the future is finally starting to look up for the much-maligned Austrian. With a string of standout performances in a struggling Werder side, Arnautovic seems finally focussed on realising some of the potential that lead one of Europe’s biggest sides (at the time) to sign him up.

In terms of ability, he has it in abundance, often operating as either a striker or right-winger; so not only would he provide a forward outlet for the side, but he could also act as the cover Spurs have so desperately craved in Aaron Lennon’s occasional absences.

His huge frame, speed, ability in the air and ferocious shooting could be seriously dangerous if surrounded by players of similar ability, something which he’d find amongst Tottenham’s current set-up.

Not to mention, he’s also something of a set piece specialist, with Youtube showcasing a series of exquisite free kicks at domestic and international level.

All it takes is the right manager to bring the best out of a ’troubled’ player, and were he entrusted with the chance of leading the line for a top European side like Tottenham, he could no doubt flourish.

VERDICT: With his attitude problems seemingly diminishing with each passing year, and his hard working attitude despite his team’s flagging season, it seems preposterous that Arnautovic isn’t a player coveted much more highly, especially from the Premier League where his physicality would prove a major asset to any side. Whatsmore, when asked to describe his dream woman he retorted with “she needs to have tattoos and big silicone tits”, what a lad. Potentially the diamond in the rough we’ve been searching far and wide for.

Player profiles courtesy of http://www.transfermarkt.co.uk 

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