On paper it makes perfect sense. It’s a nod to the future and the recruitment of Leandro Damiao could offer Tottenham long-term stability in attack – something which they’ve lacked in recent years. But at which point is it ok to accept that a ship has sailed? How many times have Tottenham been down this road before in the pursuit for the Brazilian forward? Again, on paper it all looks brilliant. But there is far too much hassle in chasing Damiao’s signature this summer.
The other striker linked with Tottenham, in a move that should signal plenty of flexibility on the formation front, is Roberto Soldado. I’ve been over this one already: Soldado would be an excellent signing for Tottenham, or any Premier League side for that matter. As of now, the Valencia forward is the highest scoring Spaniard in La Liga. He’s currently in the prime of his career and has remained at the peak of his strengths across domestic and European competition.
It’s one of football’s most well-known secrets that Spanish clubs are in financial turmoil. For the right price – and one that really shouldn’t be seen as too steep in today’s market – Valencia would most likely be willing to let Soldado leave this summer. They’re still in the hunt for Champions League football which is naturally a benefit to them, but the player himself may feel that the time is right to move on.
A move for Soldado makes plenty of sense, both in terms of the player’s availability and the ease at which negotiations could take place. In contrast, there have proven to be plenty of hurdles in the way in attempting to acquire Damiao. The Brazilian is reportedly owned by a third-party group and thus Tottenham may be forced to pay well over what they deem the player to be worth. Maybe that’s just the way it is, football is about tough negotiations. But adding the additional headache of third-party ownership is something Spurs can afford to avoid.
You have to ask questions about the club’s scouting network, and that’s not to say they have a poor one in place. In fact, it might be worth questioning how much truth there is to the stories linking Tottenham with Damiao again. Yes, the Brazilian will spearhead Brazil’s attack at the next World Cup alongside Neymar and he was excellent at last summer’s Olympics, but is the gamble worth it? The transition to European football and the Premier League could mean that Spurs only really get going with their strikers midway through the season. Soldado isn’t an issue, but it’s a big investment and plenty of risks with Damiao.
Andre Villas-Boas has urged Tottenham to “raise the bar” this summer and the addition of Soldado will go a long way to doing so. The prospect of pairing the Spaniard with the Brazilian is one that could see Spurs hold one of the deadliest strike forces in England over the next few years. These are both full internationals with the ability to score at least 20 goals a season. Damiao in particular has shown with Brazil that he has the ability to act as provider in the box as well as crafting chances for himself. Soldado meanwhile has the pace and consistency in front of goal to cause damage to any of the defences currently in the Premier League.
But you have to question if it is viable and realistic. Soldado certainly, but Tottenham may find a lot of joy in scouting further into Spain and looking at the forwards currently competing in La Liga. Financially they would be better off, not to mention the fact that there are other clubs reportedly looking at Damiao, including Napoli and Marseille.
A good pair of signings? Potentially yes. But certainly not what Spurs should limit themselves to.
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