Even ahead of Mario Mandzukic and Robert Lewandowski, Bayer Leverkusen’s Stefan Kiessling should be recognised as the Bundesliga’s best striker this season. His 25 league goals were enough to help guide Leverkusen to third in the league table and the 29-year-old may just have done enough to enhance his reputation around Europe.
Even with those scoring figures, Kiessling continues to be overlooked for the German national team. And despite the prospect of Champions League football next season at the BayArena, Tottenham may find a lot of joy in exploring Kiessling as one of their forward additions this summer, only months after it was rumoured that he was available for around £6 million.
Tottenham need to detach themselves from global names like David Villa and look to spread their resources over a number of additions in the attack. Kiessling doesn’t have youth on his side, but with such a tempting fee said to be attached to the forward, the German could prove to be an excellent piece of business for Spurs this summer.
It’s what Tottenham need more than anything, a good mix of experience and youth to come in and lead the line. Kiessling worked exceptionally well with Andre Schurrle in the Leverkusen attack this season and could benefit greatly from the midfielders currently at White Hart Lane. Such has been the forward’s progression over the past few years, Kiessling now looks to be the complete striker, with aerial ability combining with his coolness in front of goal.
Bayer Leverkusen, despite a number of excellent players in their squad, are perennial underachievers. They fail to break past the barrier that prevents them from genuinely battling with Bayern and Dortmund for the league title, and maybe some members of the team will feel that there time is coming to an end with the German side.
Kiessling, as mentioned, will want to be in consideration for a place in the Germany squad, and he has done more than enough to merit it. His last appearance for Joachim Low’s side came nearly three years ago and it might just be the change of scenery that sees him on the plane to Brazil next summer.
In fact, this has been the story of Kiessling across Europe, too. He doesn’t draw the attention in the way Mario Gomez does. Despite his exploits in front of goal – a good level of scoring that the player has maintained for much of the past few years – Kiessling never seemed glamorous enough for FC Hollywood. But if it’s not Bayern, why not someone else? Kiessling is 6’2 and yet moves with the freedom of someone much smaller. The goals are there to be seen, with the player hitting double figures in three of his last four seasons. Even former strike partner Patrick Helmes got his move away, albeit to Wolfsburg where he suffered terribly under the wrath of Felix Magath. But maybe that’s where Tottenham can find a lot of positives with so few even contemplating a move for the player.
It’s the low-risk move that Tottenham should look to combine with someone who fulfils the striker requirements over the long term. It’s always been the case that Spurs need two forwards this summer. The demands across four competitions force the need to have multiple options who can be relied upon when it matters. They don’t need to be high-profile scorers or those who demand inflated transfer fees; they just need to be a lot better than the strikers currently available to Andre Villas-Boas.
Stefan Kiessling is certainly a name who could offer that added dimension to the attack. A partner will of course be needed, but the German is a very good bridge between now and the time when Tottenham can genuinely go into the market and duel with some of the bigger names for the leading strikers in European football. Above all, the natural instincts in the penalty area mean Kiessling is more than good enough to lead Tottenham into fourth place. Ahead of over-elaborate signings, that is the most important step for Spurs going into next season.
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