Tottenham Hotspur Season Preview
It's been obvious to everyone that the club has been in urgent need of a top-class striker for some time. This summer, they have finally bought one: Roberto Soldado from Valencia. Even better, they have bought him well before the transfer deadline, giving him time to settle in to the club, which has made two other eye-catching signings. Paulinho from Corinthians(Brazil) and Nacer Chadli from Twente (Portugal). Paulinho is a strong Brazilian attacking midfielder, who should fit in nicely alongside Sandro and Moussa Dembele, while Chadli offers extra options on the wings. With Aaron Lennon usually out through injury for at least 12 games per season, Chadli could be an unexpectedly needed acquisition.
Although the Gareth Bale saga will most likely to continue right up until transfer deadline day, there's still no certainty the Welshman will remain a Spurs player come September. Two weeks ago it was looking pretty clear that Bale would leave, but now it appears less so. Daniel Levy has out-negotiated Real Madrid and now there are doubts as to whether the Spanish club actually has the cash to meet Spurs' asking price of £100 million. Yet even were Bale to leave, Spurs are still in much better shape than they have been at the start of the previous few seasons. Also departing the squad from last year are Steven Caulker and Clint Dempsey, who were key in filling in for injured players a season ago.
Keys to success
Keeping the guys fit and improving form. Andre Villas-Boas has a much more open approach to squad rotation than previous managers. Even so, Spurs still lost key players to injury early last season: Younes Kaboul in the first game and Sandro just after Christmas. Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker never matched up to Kaboul, and Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore were no substitutes for Sandro. These two long-term injuries cost Spurs a Champions League slot every bit as much as the lack of a striker. Which brings us back to Soldado. Having finally bought a proven world-class striker, AVB must make sure they play a system that uses him properly. Especially if Bale stays.
Spurs now have their strongest and most balanced squad for many seasons. There is strength in depth and the fat has been trimmed. Just as important, the other big clubs don't look so dominant. It's hard to see David Moyes' first season at Manchester United being the force in the same way as Sir Alex Ferguson did for so many years, Arsene Wenger is under pressure to win a trophy with a team that has yet to be strengthened and Jose Mourinho has a lot to prove to Chelsea that he can bring the success that he once did with the Blues. All of which makes a top-three finish a realistic goal for Spurs this season, though most fans would settle for fourth. It would also be good to see the club take its cup runs more seriously: Last year, both the Carling Cup and the FA Cup were given away in early rounds. Third place and the FA Cup. And a deep Europa League run would be fun for the fans.
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