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The five players to cover for Sandro’s loss

With the Brazilian beast, Sandro, out for the rest of the season, and with Scott Parker the only player who can play to a similar level and role to the Brazilian, Tottenham Hotspur head coach Andre Villas-Boas desperately needs another defensive midfielder. Throwing in to this equation long time target Yann M’ Vila off to Rubin Kazan and Newcastle stepping up their interest in Moussa Sissoko, Matt Walsh looks at who could replace the Brazilian for the short term, and compete with Sandro when he returns to full fitness.

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The news struck me harder than a Sandro challenge, but when Tottenham Hotspur confirmed that the Brazilian would sit out the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury, I was distraught. Anyway, in no particualar order, here are five players that could be snapped up between now and the close of the transfer deadline that could cover for the loss of the Beast. 

Ettienne Capoue – Toulouse

The 24-year old Frenchman has put in excellent performances in the engine room of Toulouse’s midfield alongside Moussa Sissoko. Capoue is capable of the performances that Sandro has produced, taking the game by the scruff of the neck, and like the Beast, Capoue’s strength is interceptions and tackling. The 24-year old has also contributed three goals and two assists for Toulouse, an aspect that stands him in better stead than Spurs’ Brazilian. One problem Andre Villas-Boas may find with the Frenchman, is his need to play long balls, which wouldn’t suit his philosophy.

Value: €12m/£10m

Radja Nainggolan – Cagliari

Another Belgian that has taken Europe by storm, but for the lowly Serie A side Cagliari. The Belgian has made eighteen appearances for the Serie A side, adding one goal and assist, with an average of 7.08. Nainggolan made his first appearance for Belgium in September 2012. If Levy was to buy the the Cagliari ace, he would fit in well in a Spurs team that already boasts massive Belgian talent in Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele while, Nainggolan could fit in neatly alongside the former. His strengths, like Sandro, are his tackling, concentration and ball interceptions.

Value: €13m/£11m

Victor Wanyama – Celtic

The Kenyan has impressed for the Bhoys during their Scottish Premier League and Champions League campaigns this year. Wanyama nullified the threat of Xavi and Iniesta at Celtic Park when Barcelona visited, aiding in securing all three points after Celtic scraped a 2-1 victory against the Catalan club. Wanyama’s ratings have been off the scale in Scotland and in Europe, averaging 7.29 per game. For a defensive midfielder, the 21-year-old has provided rounded performances, netting six goals and two assists in the SPL, and scoring the goal that put Celtic ahead in the aforementioned victory over the Blaugrana.

Value: £6m

Mohammed Diame – West Ham United

The former Wigan ace has been one of West Ham’s stand out performers this season, averaging 7.08 per game in the Premier League, adding two goals towards his eye catching performances for the East London outfit. One potential problem with the player is his necessity to commit fouls. Spurs chairman Daniel Levy may like the look of this purchase, as Diame is reported to have a £4m buyout clause, and is only 25-years old.

Value: £4m

Beñat Etxebarria – Real Betis

Rated as one of the best defensive midfielders in La Liga, imagine that, alongside Busquets, Camacho, Gabi, Xabi Alonso and Mario Suarez; Beñat has come out on top so far this season. It’s probably helping the little Spaniard that his club are in fine form so far this campaign, challenging for fourth place, and the heavily coveted Champions League. Betis’ Number 10 has scored four goals and assisted four for the team striving for Europe’s biggest club competition. Beñat has primarily played in the defensive midfield position, playing the deep lying playmaker role, the Spaniard isn’t scared of a tackle, positions himself acutely to gain possession through interceptions, and most importantly; has the eye for a killer pass. These attributes would render him an astute acquisition for Spurs. Buy. Him. Now. Levy.

Value: €10m/£8m  



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