As a child, playing up front is the position that any kid wants to play. Pulling on the number nine shirt filled any youngster with the confidence to smash the ball into the back of the net on a regular basis, whether it was a kick about with friends with jumpers for goalposts or in an 11-a-side game for the local side, nothing felt better than knowing you were the main man; the primary source of goals.
Now, grown up, out of shape and unable to place a pass let alone find the net, the next best thing one gets to pulling on that number nine shirt is to see a world class front-man do the same at my beloved club. Once Dimitar Berbatov left for Manchester United in 2008, it took three years for Spurs to bring that big name striker to White Hart Lane.
In the form of Emmanuel Adebayor, the North Londoners finally had the main front-man that could do the business. Despite the likes of Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe on the books, the duo weren’t in the same league as the Togo front-man and this is evident in his stats from the season, netting 18 goals and assisting a further 12, the only player in the Premier League last season to reach double figures in both categories.
Yet, some believe it will only be for the season, considering Adebayor was on a year-long loan from Manchester City, and while there is an aura of confidence that a deal can be struck, a move for a second centre-forward is necessary. With Louis Saha, Defoe or both set to leave the club this summer, this is of huge importance and below are two strikers that could make the difference should they arrive at Spurs over the summer.
The Athletic Bilbao front-man captured the hearts of many this season and not just because of his dashing eyes that could undress any woman at a mere glance. His goalscoring capabilities has struck fear into the hearts of even the toughest defence in Europe as the Lion King enjoyed his most prolific season to date, ending the campaign with 29 goals in 53 appearances.
His hold up play, finesse, finishing ability and first touch is exactly the making of a world class front-man and at 27-years of age, still has his best years ahead of him. With an injury to David Villa ruling him out of the upcoming European Championships, Llorente is now expected to lead the Spain front-line in Pokraine.
A successful summer could see his value skyrocket and a number of interested parties will be keen to do business with the Basque side before the tournament kicks off next month and after recently claiming he would be interested in a move to the Premier League, teams that could afford to sign the striker would be put on red alert to the statement made by Llorente.
Spurs have regularly been linked with a move for the powerful striker and, despite missing out on Champions League football; the North London side are believed to have not altered their transfer targets irregardless of their participation in the Europa League. Bilbao are more than likely to be forced to fend off intense interest for their prized asset, especially with an impressive showing in Europe against Manchester United and FC Schalke 04.
However, one stumbling block in any deal could be is affection for Bilbao. As many bore witness during the semi-final of the Europa League, and in particular the second leg at San Memes against Sporting where Llorente was at his brilliant best, the Spaniard was in tears on the side of the pitch once the final whistle went before proclaiming that reaching the final of the Europa League with Athletic was the biggest honour of his career, despite being part of the Spanish World Cup winning side of 2010.
The striker would be a vital acquisition to any front-line, but with the chances Spurs create and his exceptional goal scoring record, surely a move for Llorente would be a match made in heaven for both parties? His power is exactly what is needed to lead the front-line for the club next season and if the North London side can snare the 27-year-old, surely it will be one of the coups of the summer, regardless of his fee.
The star of Montpellier this season, Giroud finished the season with 25 goals in all competitions, with 21 of these coming in the league as La Paillade secured their first Ligue 1 title in their history. The Frenchman arrived at the club in 2010 and has enjoyed two successful seasons with the club and interest in him is likely to heighten this summer.
Now expected to partner Karim Benzema for France during the European Championships this summer, Giroud showcased his ability to bring others into the game during the national teams’ recent 3-2 win over Iceland, setting up both Franck Ribery and Adil Rami for the duo to get on the score sheet, made all the more impressive considering Les Bleus were 2-0 down at half time.
The 25-year-old is another that has been linked with a move to the Premier League, with rivals Arsenal in particular mooted as possible suitors. Much like Llorente, should Giroud enjoy a successful Euro 2012, his value is likely to increase. However, much has been made regarding a possible release clause in his contract which currently sits at around the €13m mark.
Very similar in playing style to Llorente, Giroud may well be a viable option for Spurs, with his value likely to be less than that of the former. Like any move for the Spaniard, the North London outfit are unlikely to be deterred by the lack of Champions League football, despite Montpellier’s championship win and participation amongst Europe’s elite next year.
With reports today suggesting that Spurs are ready to release Saha, and with Defoe wanting out at White Hart Lane, a move for both player’s could be seen as a viable option. Negotiations continue to sign Adebayor permanently and if the club can bring him, and the two strikers mentioned, then the front-line at Spurs will be at its strongest in recent history.
What is important is ensuring that any deal for a top striker in Europe is secured prior to the summer’s tournament; otherwise the risk of any fee spiking could see the club priced out of any bidding war, especially if the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona or Chelsea turn their interest to the aforementioned pairing following a successful European Championship.