Tottenham have some very interesting summer options
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has Tottenham on the cusp of greatness. Spurs won’t need to overhaul their roster this summer. Instead, they can focus on taking the squad from good to great.
That means that Tottenham will only need to make a few, key, summer purchases. It’s no secret that Pochettino is highly interested in both Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Everton attacker Ross Barkley. Neither player will be cheap to acquire, but each is attainable if Spurs elect to make a sufficient transfer bid.
That begs the obvious question of which player Spurs should sign. Zaha and Barkley are both talented attackers, but they approach the game in very different ways. Zaha is a pacey wide man whereas Barkley thrives using his power and verve to carry the ball through the middle of the park. So which man should Pochettino prioritize?
The case for Zaha
Tottenham’s glaring attacking weakness is the lack of pace on the outside. Pochettino has a variety of attacking midfielders who like to cut inside to find success. That can bog the middle of the pitch down with too many players in select matches.
Zaha would be the perfect antidote to that issue. He thrives using his electric pace to torment defenders down the byline. He isn’t necessarily a classic 4-4-2 winger, but he’s the closest thing the Premier League has at the current time.
Don’t believe that Zaha is just an assist man though. He has a keen eye for goal as well. If he comes to Spurs this summer, he’ll make Pochettino’s attack even more diverse.
The case for Barkley
Moussa Sissoko was brought to Tottenham to serve as a midfielder who could drive the attack forward with the ball at his feet. It’s safe to say that’s been a total flop. Ross Barkley could correct Spurs’ biggest summer transfer mistake.
Barkley isn’t a perfect attacker, but he’s got world-class talent. His lack of work rate bothers Ronald Koeman, which should be a red flag to Pochettino as well. Still, we’re talking about a young attacking midfielder with world-class talent. If he were the finished article, he’d be headed to Real Madrid for £80 million.
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On his day, Barkley could serve as an ideal attacker for Spurs. He can create chances for his teammates, but his real ability shines when he’s trying to find the back of the net himself. He could play any of the attacking midfield spots in Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1 formation. Perhaps more interestingly, he could play in the midfield in Tottenham’s 3-4-3 formation. A partnership with someone like Victor Wanyama or Mousa Dembele would free him to be a very attacking midfielder in that scenario.
The verdict: Go for both
There’s no law against signing both talented Premier League stars. Spurs should enter into negotiations with Everton and Crystal Palace at the earliest opportunity.
Ideally, they’ll find a way to secure both stars at a reasonable transfer fee. At worst, they can let economics dictate which player they choose to sign. Both stars could be hugely helpful to Tottenham, the club can simply see which player comes at a more agreeable transfer fee.
In a perfect world Spurs can round out their attacking corps with two established Premier League stars. That might be a bit too much to ask for, or afford. If Tottenham can sign either Wilfried Zaha or Ross Barkley this summer it will be cause for celebration.