Roberto Soldado opened the scoring at the Anoeta on Sunday night as Valencia eventually fell 4-2 to Real Sociedad. The Spanish striker has provided the scoring inspiration for the club since arriving from Getafe in 2010, steadily establishing himself as one of the leading forwards in Spanish football. With Tottenham said to watching the 27-year-old ahead of a possible transfer this summer, you feel this would be an ideal move for both parties, as well as Valencia.
The trouble for Valencia this season, and specifically with that loss against Sociedad, is that they are no longer a Champions League team. The sacking of Unai Emery last summer – a move which they felt necessary as a way to make up ground on Barcelona and Real Madrid – has backfired spectacularly. Ernesto Valverde has done a very good job of picking up the pieces of Mauricio Pellegrino’s short tenure with the club, but injuries and inconsistencies will result in the team falling just shy of a Champions League spot.
And that’s the importance of this campaign. There was never any real belief that Valencia could become a third in a genuine, title-challenging top three in Spain; the way they sold David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata simply won’t allow for it, and now Soldado may be the next big name out the door. The club’s finances are in a state where the loss of income from the Champions League will force them into sales of key names, while there will certainly be a sense of frustration on the part of players like Soldado that this team are not going anywhere.
Going into this summer, Tottenham are unlikely to be among those fighting for the signatures of the game’s leading strikers. The club do, however, have a base with which to continue building while still attracting very good players. Due to the fee likely to be involved, the club’s need and the player’s quality, Soldado looks to be one of the best names to address Tottenham’s issue in attack.
It needs to be said that Valencia are a team who can play very good football, even if they didn’t always do so under Emery. This season, Ever Banega has been pushed further up field by Valverde and has combined well with Soldado. The striker’s movement, intelligence and pace has always allowed him to stand apart as one of the better Spanish forwards in La Liga. His scoring record also speaks for itself, with 23 goals in all competitions so far this season. Remember, this is a Valencia side who struggled for much of the early part of the campaign, while players like Banega and Sergio Canales were not always available.
This summer would represent the perfect time for Tottenham to make their move. Not only is Valencia struggling on the financial front, but the player will be well aware of the approaching World Cup. With Fernando Torres failing to rediscover his form of the past and Ruben Castro, Aritz Aduriz and David Villa the wrong side of 30, Soldado may be one of the names in Vicente Del Bosque’s squad, provided he continues in the same form.
For Tottenham, this is a striker who would fit seamlessly into their current setup. He is a natural in front of goal, taking up the duties as primary goal scorer for Valencia ahead of Jonas and Nelson Valdez, while the service from the wings at Spurs is something the Spanish striker will be able to exploit on a regular basis. Soldado is also far more than just a one-dimensional poacher, showing his range of class regularly with outstanding efforts in front of goal.
Soldado, who is comfortably in his prime, is experienced at the highest level of the game with three Champions League campaigns with Valencia under his belt. More so than most of the names linked with Tottenham in the recent past, Soldado would represent excellent value for money, even for a fee approaching £20 million.