This time last month, Spurs fans were not a happy bunch. Kyle Walker had left for pastures new, with no new replacement in sight, Danny Rose went from Lisa to Bart Simpson with just one interview and we had no new signings in sight to cheer us up, just @Simply_Spurs’ wonderful thread to ease the pain a little bit each day.
I wrote in my season preview that Spurs needed at least 3 signings through the door come deadline day. In total 5 came, well 4 plus Paulo Gazzaniga (sorry Paulo), and while it wasn’t a perfect window, it certainly turned out better than most would’ve expected a month ago. So what can these add to the team? Let’s start with our final transfer of the window.
Llorente is a player most Spurs fans will be very familiar with, during his Bilbao days, a transfer window never went by without the World Cup winner being linked with us. A few years on and we finally get the chance to witness the ‘Spanish Peter Crouch’ wearing lilywhite, a match made in heaven surely.
On a serious note, this is definitely the most surprising signing of the summer, possibly the most surprising acquisition Pochettino has made since he arrived at Tottenham. With 2 or 3 exceptions all of players he’s signed have been under the age of 25. Although this isn’t a completely new trend for Tottenham, It’s almost unheard off for Daniel Levy to fork out upwards of £10m for a player with little or no sell on value.
However you’d struggle to find any fan angry at this sudden change of policy from the club, the vast majority were very happy with the move, and not just because we stole him from Chelsea either. Llorente brings two main attributes with him, the first being his experience. A common criticism of Spurs has been a lack of leaders on and off the pitch when things don’t quite go their way, boasted with the aforementioned World Cup, Llorente’s other major honours include; a European Championship, three Serie A titles and a Europa League. You could probably add up the honours from the rest of our squad and still not come close to those accomplishments.
The second attribute is obvious but in no way minimal, he offers the team a ‘Plan B’. The football Tottenham played last season was phenomenal, however their approach to every game didn’t change, and whilst most games that was fine, there will always be some where the team come unstuck.
A great example of this came last month against Chelsea, after taking the lead early on, the visitors spent the vast majority of the game camped in their own half. With so many players behind the ball, Tottenham struggled to play through such congested areas or get round the back. Because of this, by the end of the game, players were forced to cross the ball into the box with more hope than expectation.
During that game Tottenham attempted 20 crosses in total, with only two of them finding a teammate. Llorente would’ve the perfect player to come off the bench in this game, he won an average of 4.7 headers per game last season and no one has scored more goals with their head since he came to the Premier League.
Harry Kane is a wonderful striker and is taller than most front men, however his aerial threat is certainly not his best quality. Llorente will not only score headers but will also provide the team with a target when another of their philosophies becomes challenging, passing out from the back. When Tottenham visited the Etihad in January, they struggled to deal with City’s high press and were forced to hit it long a lot more than they are used to. They of course went on to draw this game, but you’d even struggle to find a Spurs fan argue that it was deserved, and it was the first half against City that they especially struggled.
As you can see above, As a result of City’s high press during that first half, almost all of the successful passes made by the three centre backs, Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Kevin Wimmer, we either sideways or backwards passes. And almost all of their unsuccessful passes were long balls forward, whenever they struggled with the press and looked for an outlet further forward, they could never find their target. Llorente could be the target they need in games they are unable to build play slowly from back to front.
Aurier has received a mixed reception from Spurs fans since he was first linked to the club, his off field issues have been written about enough and whilst his behaviour away from the pitch could evidently affect the team, this early on I’m going to focus on what he can add to the side on the pitch.
Aurier’s main contribution is obvious and doesn’t really need to be delved into too much, his pace. Trippier has proven a fine understudy over the last two seasons, and when he needed to step in more prominently towards the end of last season, he impressed doing so. However there was no way he could replace the pure pace and power that Kyle Walker brought to Pochettino’s side.
Playing at Wembley, Spurs need pace more now than ever, and Aurier is certainly capable of filling the gap left from Walkers Departure, his high fitness levels will also help him integrate into the system quickly.
His stats above are not overwhelming, but solid nonetheless. His 89% Pass success rate in encouraging, but his passes per game average being much higher than Trippier should hopefully mean he’ll be heavily involved in attack.
After a very long wait, Sanchez was Spurs’ first summer signing and therefore probably received the best reception from the fans. He was also the most expensive, therefore he brings a lot of pressure with him to not just be a squad player and make a big contribution to the team this season. If the Colombian international starts, Spurs will most likely line up in the formation below.
However Pochettino has always liked to change the shape of the team, depending on whether or not his side have possession of the ball. During his first season at Spurs he mainly set the side up in a 4231 formation, however when the team were attacking, Eric Dier who would start in defensive midfield, would drop back in-between the centre backs to form a back three.
Sanchez could allow Pochettino to do a similar thing this season. With Dier back in midfield, when attacking he could look to push the wingbacks even further forward, with Dier drifting back to form a back four and provide extra cover from dangerous counter attacks on the large Wembley Pitch.
This is how it could possibly look in game:
Like Aurier, one of Sanchez’s biggest attributes is his pace and his ability to cover the space in behind the defence. With Spurs’ move to Wembley and their tendency to play such a high line, there will undoubtedly be a massive amount of space behind the defence that other teams will look to exploit, Sadio Mane will be licking his lips at the thought of running past Ben Davies at Wembley. However with Sanchez, Spurs have the perfect centre back for this problem, last season Ajax also played a pressing system with a high defensive and Sanchez covered the space behind superbly, making wonderful last-ditch tackles on numerous occasions.
Overall Tottenham’s transfer window was good, not great. They still lack proper competition for Erisken and a pacey winger would’ve been a very good option to have off the bench. However the signings they have made should certainly add a lot to the squad, Foyth should prove a good squad player, he looks to have wonderful talent on the ball and was very eager to work under compatriot Pochettino. With these signings, Lamela hopefully returning from injury and the probable attempt to sign Ross Barkley in January, come 2018 Spurs could have very good options all over the pitch.
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