Tottenham’s ‘Six of the Best’ transfer targets – The Forwards

Should Tottenham tempt their former hero home?

Ah good old life! Tottenham Hotspur supporters’s faith in humaity was restored after a ‘comfortable’ (choke) win over North London neighbours Arsenal for the first time in nearly 11 years on Wednesday night and a small matter of a win against Chelsea this evening. However, Tottenham’s failure to see off the smaller teams this season-Wolves, Hull City and Stoke et al- suggest that whilst the club is on an upward trajectory, it is lacking the killer instinct in attack that was once provided by a moody Bulgarian and live wire Irishman.

Perhaps the most marked change in the Spurs side next season, will be seen in the forward line.  Roman Pavlyuchenko is apparently still intent on a move back to Russia, whilst Monaco have made it clear they expect Eidur Gudjohnsen to return to Ligue 1. With Robbie Keane out of favour at White Hart Lane, Harry Redknapp is left with just Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe to choose from. Therefore, Redknapp may well return to the transfer market this summer in a bid to strengthen the Tottenham attack. However, surprisingly for Tottenham, there have been few rumours circulating apropos potential transfer targets. Owing to Tottenham’s successful campaign, the spotlight has largely been directed at affairs on the pitch this season, not off it. However, rather than arbitrarily linking Tottenham with the first name that comes to mind, here is a list of forwards that could be available to Tottenham this coming August…

1. Carlton Cole

Type the players name into Google and transfer stories linking the player with Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal will all appear. However, Cole signed a five-year deal with West Ham in November 2008, and the new owners would be loathe to sell one of their better players, no matter what the financial position of the club dictates.

The problem would only come therefore, if Cole demanded a transfer. Then, if the bid was large enough, Cole could move on. Certainly, comments the striker made to Sky Sports in February this year should not fill Hammers with confidence:

“I wasn’t in the least bit interested in entertaining offers [in the January transfer window], my only focus was and still is to do the best I can for West Ham for the rest of the season.

“I am looking forward to enjoying a good end to the season by producing some good performances to repay the Upton Park faithful.”

Cole only commits his immediate future to the Hammers, and whilst this doesn’t exactly equate to a transfer request, Cole’s future is clearly not set in stone.

Cole would be perfect for Spurs. His pace and power would create space for the likes of Defoe, Lennon and Modric, whilst he can also play upfront alone and would give Redknapp more options. Cole is not only capable of claiming assists, but is now also a goal scorer, and has 10 league goals this term. The only worry is that Cole is to a certain extent injury prone, and has missed a large chunk of the season.

Competition for the player’s signature is likely to be fierce this summer, and West Ham would avoid selling to neighbours Tottenham at all costs. However, the possibility remains…

2. Bobby Zamora

The Fulham forward fits the bill as a physical, mobile forward, who could partner either Crouch or Defoe, and add some much needed power to the Spurs attack. Zamora has scored a total of 17 goals this season, with eight coming in the league.

Whilst Zamora has had his finest season to date since his days playing for Brighton, it is doubtful the player would be a success at Spurs. Aside from the fact that Fulham themselves were attempting to sell the player and bring in Peter Crouch last summer, Zamora has only recently shown an eye for goal, and at 29, how much better will the player get?

Although Tottenham love resigning a former player, I can’t see this one happening. Tottenham need a player with Zamora’s strength and presence, but the player is probably too old, and would be too expensive.

3. Edin Dzeko

The Wolfsburg striker has scored 20 goals in the Bundesliga alone this season, and is one of the hottest properties in European football. Everybody from AC Milan to Manchester United has been linked with the Bosnia and Herzegovina forward, who fired Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga title last season with 26 league goals. Tottenham were linked with a £25m move for the player by the Daily Mirror, but then, so too were Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal…

Dzeko is good in the air, strong, with quick feet and excellent finishing capabilities. He is by no means a well-kept secret however, and so I cannot see the Bundesliga star settling for a club outside the Champions League. In fact, even with Champions League football, this player would take some serious convincing. He is though, exactly the sort of player Tottenham could do with.

4. Dimitar Berbatov

The £30m forward does not fit into a 4-3-3, and so will never be first choice at United. Whilst he has proven himself capable of scoring goals at United, will the Bulgarian and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson both agree to cut their losses this summer? Berbatov is in his prime, and cannot relish playing as a reserve striker. Even a 25% fit Wayne Rooney was preferred to Berbatov against Bayern Munich in the Champions League recently.

The way Berbatov left Tottenham has made him a figure of scorn at White Hart Lane, whilst Berbatov at times gave Tottenham fans the impression he was doing them a favour merely being there. However, he was awesome at Tottenham, and in all honesty, how many fans would turn down a Dimitar Berbatov firing on all cylinders? The Daily Mirror have recently linked Harry Redknapp with a move for the Bulgarian, and it’s not impossible he’ll return.

5. Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle will have no shortage of suitors when the season finishes. Whilst Mick McCarthy somewhat generously dubbed the Irish international as Wolverhampton Wanderers ‘best ever’ centre forward recently, Doyle has been in fine form this term.

Although Doyle has managed just 7 goals in 28 games in the Premier League this season, the 27 year old striker would undoubtedly score more goals at a bigger club. Doyle’s a handful for any defence, equipped with the ability to work the channels and create space for others. He has pace, and would undoubtedly provide Tottenham with something different. His aerial prowess and positional awareness, for example, were obvious after his goal at White Hart Lane earlier this season.

Whilst Doyle is a good Premier League player, if Tottenham want Champions League football, they might need more than Doyle could offer. Doyle did score 13 goals in his first Premier League season in what was a good Reading side in 2006/07, but whether he could link up with Tottenham’s more subtle play is debatable. For example, Darren Bent is clearly a good goal scorer, but struggled to adhere to the play Tottenham fans like to see. This one’s unlikely.

6. Roque Santa-Cruz

The over-priced Paraguayan forward has struggled for fitness this term, and Manchester City would probably want to see a decent return on the £17m they paid.

However, the player was a Mark Hughes signing, and if Manchester City spend big in the summer in the striking department, Santa-Cruz may be surplus to requirements. Santa-Cruz is excellent in the air, and tidy on the floor, and would thrive in a 4-4-2 formation. He is probably not mobile enough to play upfront alone, but he would be a decent acquisition nevertheless. Further, Redknapp was known to be interested in the player before Mark Hughes convinced him that Manchester City was the right move.

All however, would depend on Manchester City’s actions in the transfer window this summer.

Tottenham will need a forward that can offer them something different next season. Strength and power are a must, as is the ability to break into double figures in terms of Premier League goals. Tottenham have been overly reliant on Jermain Defoe this season, and the team return of 58 goals is well behind that of Chelsea (84), Manchester United (77) and Arsenal (75). Better finishing may well have seen Tottenham see off the likes of Wolves, Hull and Stoke at home this season, not to mention Portsmouth in the FA Cup. However, fundamentally, Tottenham need more craft and guile, be it through sheer physicality, or by the subtlety formerly displayed by Dimitar Berbatov.

It will be an interesting summer…

You can find me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mark0turner

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