Tottenham are continually being linked with moves for David Villa, Paulinho and Leandro Damiao, with the trio said to be at the top of Andre Villas-Boas’ wish list as he prepares for the new season. With the manager snubbing the interest from PSG to remain with Spurs, these are the calibre of players the Portuguese could use in a bid to elevate Tottenham’s position in the Premier League.
On paper, and provided Spurs bring in the quality being touted, Spurs should have an attack that lifts them into the group who are likely to be competing for the league title. Coupled with the possible stay of Gareth Bale, there should be plenty of hope as to what Spurs can achieve next season.
The thing is going from challengers for fourth to league title contenders doesn’t happen in one summer in the Premier League – unless you’re a club with the financial backing of Manchester City. Spurs have no recent history of winning the league title, therefore the club as a whole are bereft of the mentality it takes to top a league table and emerge victorious come the middle of May. It’s not that they may not be capable, but there is far more to it than simply buying a few good players.
But it is the right path the club need to be on. Villas-Boas has already proven himself in Portugal as a manager who is capable of bringing the very best out of a talented squad, having completed the treble in his single season at Porto. He now needs the backing to build something similar at Tottenham, and once again it will be a matter of patience and not focusing on unrealistic targets.
At Porto, everything was in place for Villas-Boas to succeed. At Tottenham, he is undertaking the building of a club who have never really been challengers for the Premier League title.
Spurs also need to be mindful of the fact that Villa, Damiao and Paulinho would be newcomers to English football, with the two Brazilians having never played in a top European league in their career. The talent is all there, including the components necessary to turn this Tottenham team into a winning machine. But realistically it should take time.
What deals like this will do is offer Villas-Boas time – notably if he gets the ball rolling and the signings are seen to have made a noticeable impact. And there’s no reason why they shouldn’t. Age doesn’t matter, David Villa is head and shoulders better than the two striking options currently at Spurs. His days with Barcelona also mean he can relieve Bale on the left, offering the Welshman license to roam the final third without comprising Tottenham’s shape.
Villa is the proven winner the club needs. He’s a World Cup winner, a league a Champions League winner with Barcelona and a forward who, when given a run of games, will show that there isn’t too much of a decline in his ability. But importantly he’s a star name the club need to prove that they do mean business in English football. It will be a sign that Tottenham are growing in stature in the European game and that they don’t need the Champions League to act as their primary bargaining chip. Alongside Damiao, Spurs could be looking at considerable firepower – and that’s before you look at what Bale should contribute over the course of the season.
Part of the stumbling block will be in the manager juggling the four competitions. As mentioned, Spurs do not have a history of going all the way in the Premier League, and the Europa League is still frowned upon to an extent in England. Despite Tottenham having a ‘squad’ rather than just relying heavily on one player, competitions such as the Europa League will weigh heavily on the new signings, notably for those who are used to a winter break and a climate which can be far from what is the norm in England.
But the expectation shouldn’t be for Spurs to become title challengers next season. Manchester United, Man City, Chelsea, and even Arsenal should be in higher seats of power, all of whom going out or said to be preparing for a big summer one way or another. The key for Tottenham here is that they look like they’re making progress rather than hitting a glass ceiling. Champions League football or not, it will bode well for the club in the future if potential signings can see that players like Villa and Damiao have made the switch to White Hart Lane. Fundamentally it’s a selling point, one which shows that the project does have legs.
Could this triple deal make Spurs title contenders next season?
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