To preview Tottenham’s season is an almost impossible task, with the Gareth Bale saga rumbling on.
Losing the talismanic Welshman will see a huge off-the-field benefit for Spurs, but on-the-field their Champions League ambitions will be severely hampered.
Maintaining him would give Andre Villas-Boas a hugely exciting campaign to look forward to.
The fact that Bale was the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year in the Premier League last season really tells you just how pivotal his services could be to Tottenham’s season.
That’s not to suggest the White Hart Lane club can’t flourish without their star player.
They’ve spent heavily so far in the transfer window to reinforce their squad and will undoubtedly maintain the free-flowing game they brought to matches last season.
Players in: Paulinho (Corinthians) £17m, Nacer Chadli (FC Twente) Undisclosed, Roberto Soldado (Valencia) £26m, Etienne Capoue (Toulouse) £8.6m
Players out: Jack Barthram (Swindon) Free, David Bentley (Released), John Bostock (Royal Antwerp) Free, Nathan Byrne (Swindon) Undisclosed, Steven Caulker (Cardiff) £8m, Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders) Undisclosed, Tomislav Gomelt (Royal Antwerp) Loan, Grant Hall (Swindon) Loan, Bongani Khumalo (Doncaster) Loan, Massimo Luongo (Swindon) Loan, Ryan Mason (Swindon) Loan, Jack Munns (Released), Jake Nicholson (Released), Alex Pritchard (Swindon Town) Loan, Adam Smith (Derby) Loan, William Gallas (Released), Jake Livermore (Hull) Loan, Tom Huddlestone (Hull) £5m.
Player to watch: Roberto Soldado – the Spanish forward could prove more important to Spurs this season than one might initially think. He brings a wealth of experience from La Liga and, at 28, is entering what will quite possibly be the best years of his career. That would certainly explain the hefty price which Tottenham had to fork out to get him anyway.
Young player to watch: Iago Falque – the 23-year-old playmaker, once of Barcelona, was loaned to Almeria last season. Fans of the side, which won promotion to La Liga, were raving about Falque at times. His passing ability is said to be extremely good and, though there are a number of players in Tottenham’s squad who will be in line for a starting place before him, if Falque is given a chance, he could well grab it with both hands.
Player needing to improve: Emmanuel Adebayor – the Togolese striker has been linked with a move away from Spurs this summer and his form last season tells you why. He managed just eight goals in 34 games, with only five of those scored in the Premier League. For a side that wanted to be playing Champions League football, his performances last season were all too lethargic. Everyone knows that the 29-year-old is capable of scoring plenty goals, he just needs to recapture the form which has made him such a star in seasons gone by.
Season prediction: 5th
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