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At the very beginning of the transfer window, Tottenham Hotspur needed to achieve two things: improve the depth of their squad and sign a goalscoring centre-forward to take some pressure off Harry Kane.
Despite an incredibly slow start to proceedings at the North London club in the summer, it would be fair to suggest they actually have completed both goals with the respective arrivals of Juan Foyth, Serge Aurier and Davinson Sanchez all boosting the depth of the team whilst Fernando Llorente’s deadline day signing perfectly suits what Spurs wanted to do.
The perfect bargain
In the case of the Spanish international, he is the absolute perfect signing for Tottenham at this time, especially at a bargain price of £12 million.
Last season Spurs relied on Kane too heavily and it was always a concern that with the amount of matches played given their Champions League commitments, any injury concerns would leave Spurs hamstrung in front of goal.
The 2016/17 campaign saw Son Heung-Min produce his finest ever season in terms of goals scored, yet it wouldn’t be sensible to expect a repeat of this from a player who is an attacking midfielder rather than a natural forward.
A more fitting back-up than Janssen
Dele Alli will always get you goals and from set-pieces both Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen are a threat; however Mauricio Pochettino desperately needed an additional option in attack.
Often in the transfer market, gambles do not pay off and Tottenham Hotspur know that better than most, especially throughout Daniel Levy’s time in charge.
Last summer’s decision to sign Vincent Janssen was bizarre and his simply woeful performances over the course of the campaign merely proved as much.
He was never a reliable backup to Kane and it is little wonder the North London club attempted to send him to either West Bromwich Albion or Brighton and Hove Albion on loan as the transfer deadline neared.
There are no such concerns with Llorente however, he ticks every single box.
He has a reliable goalscoring record across multiple leagues, he has Champions League experience and finally, given his age, he is likely to be content to play a rotational role and dovetail with the English striker rather than demand to be first-choice.
Alexandre Lacazette seemed on paper to be a perfect option for Spurs at the beginning of the summer but looking back it does seem as though this could have created an unnecessary battle between the Frenchman and Kane to fill the sole striker’s position.
Great in the air and technically gifted
In his single season in the Premier League with Swansea City, the former Juventus striker netted 15 Premier League goals. Now it would be unwise to assume he will be in a position to hit as many this term but an incredible eye for goal is crucial.
Llorente is as much of a threat in the air as he is technically gifted; he provides defences with numerous problems throughout the course of a match and gives his own team options.
Spurs’ first two matches at Wembley this season have both seen disappointing results and the club have looked a little short of ideas at times given Kane’s August hoodoo.
Proper squad option
Pochettino was unable to turn to anyone on the bench as a good quality option but now he has one.
The fact Spurs beat rivals Chelsea to his signature is yet one more minor bonus, but the fact the Champions of England were also interested highlights how well thought of the former Athletic Club star is.
2017/18 promises to be a monumentally difficult calendar to negotiate given it is a World Cup year and fixture dates have been contracted in accordance with that. Champions League matches will be another issue for the Argentine coach to deal with and this was certainly not the season to skimp on depth.
Llorente’s arrival does actually have benefits off the field as well as on it which are crucial given the current state of play at Tottenham.
Fits the bill — for now
Moving to a new stadium was going to undoubtedly tighten the purse-strings and the way the transfer market has shifted so significantly since Neymar’s £204 million switch to Paris Saint-Germain has made things even more difficult for clubs not willing to part with monumental fees.
Goalscorers are always expensive, they are one of the most vital parts to a successful team and as such signing a high quality one could quite conceivably set a club back £60-90 million.
Levy and Pochettino are fortunate in that they have Kane, arguably of the top 3 natural strikers in the world, tied down to a long-term contract.
With that said, you need rotational options and they need to be of an incredibly good standard. Llorente is one such option and even though he isn’t a long-term answer to the issue, he fits the bill perfectly at this time.
The 32-year-old has penned a two-year deal with Spurs and this alleviates the need for a further attacking signing for the duration of that period.
It is difficult to see Llorente not performing in this backup role and for the two year period, Tottenham can continue to pay for their new stadium whilst also monitoring the ever shifting patterns of the transfer market.
Sensible deadline day acquisition
The club may well be at a totally different point by 2019 where money can be spent on a high quality striker to play with Kane, rather than instead of him.
Whilst this may not have been the most exciting deadline day story, Llorente’s arrival at Wembley certainly makes the most sense and with Tottenham Hotspur gearing up for another Premier League title challenge, they do so in the knowledge that there is now a real goalscoring alternative to Kane.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris on Twitter @cmwinterburn
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