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What does AVB need? A trequartista, that’s what

Missing out on a number 10, it can be argued, has hindered Spurs this season. Wth Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson failing to impose themselves in the starting XI, Matt Walsh looks at the potential targets once the transfer window re-opens in January. 

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Look at the best teams in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1, and what do they all have? A trequartista. Chelsea have Oscar and Juan Mata, Manchester United have Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa, Manchester City have David Silva, and even our North London rivals have one in Santi Cazorla. For those of you that may not know this term, it can be simplified as ‘the no10 role’ or an attacking midfielder that plays behind the front man and it’s a player that Tottenham Hotspur don’t possess.

Now some of you may say that we already have plenty in our squad that can play the no10 role, I’ll tell you this, they’re no Rafael van der Vaart. So, how much will Levy give us in the January transfer window, £10m? £15m? £20m? £25m? The latter will probably be the most useful, but is unlikely to happen.

Here at To The Lane and Back, we have compiled a shortlist that we think may be good enough to push us back into contention for the top four.

Bryan Ruiz – Fulham

The Costa Rican arrived at Craven Cottage from FC Twente as primarily a right winger, or attacking right midfielder, but ex-Spurs boss, Martin Jol has adapted Ruiz’s game, and has set him up as a second striker, a trequartista that has superb technical quality, good finishing and an eye for a pass. It seems we bought the wrong Fulham attacking midfielder in Clint Dempsey, as Bryan Ruiz seems to be a lot more creative than the American. A bid around £15-20m may persuade Fulham to sell the Costa Rican to their London rivals.

Marek Hamsik – Napoli

The Slovakian has become one of the most exciting players across Europe over the past two-three years, especially when he linked up with Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi for Napoli. He has scored 55 goals in 192 appearances for Napoli, having signed for the Serie A side in 2007 for around £5.5m, Hamsik may now be worth nearly four to five times the amount they signed the player for, if Levy is serious about backing Andre Villas-Boas, we may need to break our transfer record again.

Joao Moutinho – FC Porto

Every Spurs fan knows we tried to buy the Portuguese international in the transfer window, but it seemed Levy had messed around the Porto chairman, resulting in us missing out on the player Villas-Boas wanted the most. Moutinho doesn’t play as a trequartista, he’s more of a deep lying playmaker, but consider this, moving Mousa Dembele behind the front man. The Belgian presses well, can create and has an eye for goal. Levy will have to break the bank for the Porto player, but if he does; Villas-Boas may get the fluid midfield he yearns for.

Yoann Gourcuff – Olympique Lyonnais

The Frenchman had be likened to footballing great Zinedine Zidane when playing for Bordeaux back in 2009, and was voted as French Player of the Year in the same year. Gourcuff made his move to Lyon in 2010 for €22m, but has endured an injury plagued career for the Ligue 1 club. The Frenchman has now got his career in Lyon back on track with some superb performances with the French side, and has been called up by national coach Didier Deschamps for this week’s friendly versus Italy. If Levy is to buy a trequartista for Spurs, he may face a battle to sign the Lyon player, with Arsenal also keen.

Alan Dzagoev – CSKA Moscow

The Russian had an outstanding EURO 2012 campaign, despite Russia’s group stage exit, Dzagoev’s performances were the pinnacle for Russia in Poland and Ukraine. Dzagoev was linked with us in the early stages of the transfer window, with his father claiming Villas-Boas was to make the attack minded midfielder his first signing. He has been integral to CSKA Moscow’s attacking force in the Russian Premier League. If Levy is to purchase the Russian, he may well have to break the transfer record, but Luka Modric was seen as a cautious purchase, before blossoming into one of Spurs’ best players for a decade. 

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