Tottenham's Top 5 Summer Signings
Who has slotted in perfectly and who has flattered to deceive?
While some players have had limited opportunities to impress due to unfortunate injuries (Etienne Capoue), others have either struggled to impose themselves (Erik Lamela) or acclimatised to the unique rigours of the Premier League with effortless ease (Paulinho).
Rankings were decided according to the quality and consistency of each player's performances, and their overall contribution to the team’s success.
Erik Lamela—Tottenham’s most expensive and (arguably) talented investment—has found the transition from Italian to English football a challenging one.
Despite the young Argentinian only exhibiting ephemeral glimpses of his inherent abilities, this writer is convinced he’ll find his feet sooner rather than later and prove an invaluable asset throughout the remainder of the season.
Nacer Chadli’s Tottenham career has got off to a solid, if uninspiring start, with two goals and one assist in nine appearances (five as a substitute).
As evidenced by the Europa League match against Dinamo Tibilisi, he displays a faculty for driving towards the byline and providing excellent whipped crosses.
5th (joint): Roberto Soldado
Roberto Soldado’s lack of open-play goals in the Premier League (one from 10 appearances) has largely been a product of the poor service provided by Tottenham’s midfielders.
In part, this problem can be attributed to Spurs’ inverted wing play, with Tottenham’s wide men proving increasingly averse to whipping an early cross into the six-yard box—the type of delivery that Soldado thrives off.
However, the blame for Spurs' attacking impotence can’t be shifted entirely on to the supporting cast; Soldado must shoulder some of the responsibility for his disappointing goal tally.
The Spaniard’s neat strike against Villa showcased what a clinical finisher he can be when afforded the opportunity by his midfielders.
Andre Villas-Boas desperately needs to set up his team in light of Soldado’s strengths, or else what was the point in spending a club-record fee to acquire his services in the first place?
5th (joint): Christian Eriksen
Christian Eriksen is by no means the finished article, but he possesses all the raw qualities required of an effective No. 10: excellent vision, ball retention and awareness of space.
Eriksen has yet to cement his claim to the No. 10 berth—inconsistency and a tendency to drift out of games are emerging as areas requiring improvement, and are reasons why he doesn't feature higher on this particular list.
Nevertheless, in a team seemingly devoid of guile, the talented Dane can provide the requisite invention and creativity—more so than the industrious Lewis Holtby (who incidentally looks more like a No. 6 than a natural playmaker).
3rd: Etienne Capoue
What little we’ve seen of Etienne Capoue—before he sustained a sprained ankle during the North London derby—augurs a bright future for the Frenchman.
His languid, rangy style is faintly reminiscent of Yaya Toure’s, gliding across the pitch and launching into tackles from improbable distances.
Capoue’s return from injury represents a major boost to Andre Villas-Boas, despite the fact that the creativity of this Spurs side is a more pressing concern.
Paulinho and Sandro have looked noticeably tired in recent fixtures, so the luxury of being able to draft in a similarly accomplished midfielder will ensure that they can be rotated.
Although he’s only played 197 Premier League minutes thus far, his performances have been influential, consistent (more so than his colleagues further down on the list) and assured.
2nd: Vlad Chiriches
Here’s a nice statistic for you to contemplate; Spurs are yet to concede in a game that Vlad Chiriches has started.
While it’s admittedly early days—and statistics can generally be manipulated to buttress any rhetoric—Vlad’s performances so far denote a player of real quality.
Some commentators have been quick to draw parallels between Chiriches and David Luiz, owing to the pair’s proficiency at converting defence into attack.
Spurs' fans will be hopeful that Vlad is more Jan Vertonghen than David Luiz—i.e. supremely comfortable on the ball but less prone to reckless mistakes than the Brazilian.
Five clean sheets is as consistent as it gets. Vlad is more than deserving of his second-place finish.
Paulinho took all of five minutes to adapt to life in Tottenham colours.
He’s been by far the most influential performer out of Spurs' seven summer acquisitions, partnering his Brazilian compatriot (and Moussa Dembele) to great effect in the centre of the park.
Considering the fact that Paulinho has only found the back of the net once, despite taking more than 3.1 shots per game (the 37th most across the top European leagues), suggests that we’ve clearly not witnessed the best of him yet.
Or, indeed, his shooting could be naturally aberrant: 20 goals in 86 appearances suggests otherwise.
At £17m, Paulinho looks to represent great value—especially considering that he’s keeping the £30m Fernandinho out of the Brazilian team—and is one of the first names on the team sheet.
Do you agree with these rankings, or am I talking complete nonsense? Please feel free to leave comments below.