Failing to reinforce the strike force in January may yet prove to be the biggest factor in Tottenham Hotspurs’ falling out of the top four by the end of the Premier League year, although neither Andre Villas-Boas nor Daniel Levy could have reasonably expected just how poor Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe would be in the second half of the season. This summer will surely see Tottenham Hotspur finally address their need for some extra quality upfront, but how many new players do they need, and is there a place for Adebayor or Defoe in next year’s squad?
Adebayor demonstrated how devastating he can be when on form as he turned in a man of the match performance against Everton at the weekend, but his unreliability throughout the year means that Spurs cannot go into next season with the Togolese player as their number one forward. In the past, Adebayor has shown little patience for playing second fiddle, and it would be risky to have him in the squad at all if he falls down the pecking order.
As for Defoe, this season has shown his limitations as much as his qualities, and again Spurs would be foolish to start next year with the 30 year old as a first choice starter. Unlike Adebayor however, there is more room for Defoe to be used as a squad player, with his selfish desperation for goals likely to come in handy from the bench at times. Whether he would be happy with such a role with the World Cup in 2014 to think about is another matter.
There is a reasonable chance that both strikers could leave, and there is a case for saying that Spurs would be wise to let both go if they could bring in three new forwards. Given the players available, it is unlikely Spurs will stray too far from the one striker system they have used this system, with Gareth Bale joining the attack from his flank. With this in mind they need to bring in players who are comfortable linking they play and holding up the ball, as well as sharp in front of goal, with Adebayor and Defoe so far each proving unable to fulfil both roles.
Leandro Damiao is one name that will be mentioned, and if there is any truth to the rumours about Gonzalo Higuain leaving Real Madrid Spurs should do everything possible (except swapping Bale) to bring him to White Hart Lane. Spurs need to start next season with three senior forwards, and if they could keep Defoe and bring in two new players they should be well set, with Adebayor’s attitude rather than his ability making it too risky to keep him as a rotation option in the squad.