4 Tottenham Hotspur Players Keen for a Good Season
And, as ever, they're already likely to have one eye on their first league match of the season where they're scheduled to travel to the Boleyn Ground to face West Ham on Saturday, August 16.
There are more than a few players under the tutelage of Mauricio Pochettino who will be more eager than ever to endear themselves to the White Hart Lane faithful.
So it's time to run through a pick of four key players who'll be doing their best to impress throughout the new campaign.
Despite being linked with a certain Serie A giant in recent days, it remains very likely that the integral Danish playmaker will remain on the books at Spurs for the upcoming season.
With the Express' Charles Perrin claiming that some sources in Italy have earmarked him as a Napoli transfer target, it wouldn't be totally untoward for fans of the Lilywhites to lose a few nights' sleep over the future of one of their best players.
Because if they manage to keep him for a few more months, and he continues where he left off during the 2013/14 season, not only will his market value increase, but he'll be helping the club on the pitch as well.
Make no mistake, though, an in-form Eriksen will also likely continue to harbour ambitions of making it to an even bigger club.
As reported by Troels Christensen of Danish newspaper Elkstra Bladet (in Danish), h/t The Express, the 22-year-old has his eyes firmly set on a dream move elsewhere:
I'm incredibly happy that the fans seem happy with me. I am very glad that they like what they see. Of course I have a dream and a secret plan in my head. But I keep it to myself. Right now I live in the moment and enjoy the success I have.
Of course, Pochettino will hope that Eriksen can be persuaded to stay for the long haul because he'll no doubt be keen to mould him into a club figurehead; someone who can be the long-term face of their creative attack.
But either way, this is a big season for the young star that could play into Spurs' hands if he plays to his potential.
Either he blossoms into a club legend in their hunt for silverware and a Europa League triumph, or he continues to churn out the performances that saw him win over the fans so quickly and he continues to garner attention from foreign suitors until their advances are too good for the board to reject.
No pressure, then.
Ready and pumped to take his regular position in the starting lineup, Erik Lamela has high hopes for himself this season.
In an exclusive interview with The Sun, the 22-year-old Argentine revealed that he was up for the fight and seemed keen to outline just how prepared he is to fully showcase his repertoire of talents.
Having made just six starts across all competitions last season due to injury, he didn't get much of a chance to shine, but now that he's fully fit—and, more importantly, psyched to make an impression—Spurs can finally see a real investment on the money they paid for him.
Effectively, the young star remains a new signing and should be relished as such by the fans.
Because while many will remain sceptical about his burgeoning talents until he can produce some physical results on the big stage, it wouldn't be foolish for anyone to imagine just how big a payer he can be this season.
A fresh reminder of just how special a player he can be comes in the form of this statistic from WhoScored.com when Lamela's time with Roma was coming to an end over a year ago:
The Argentina international successfully dribbled past an opponent 99 times in Serie A last term: only Juan Guillermo Cuadrado (118) and Jonathan Biabiany (117) did so more times over the 2012/13 season. More pertinently, he did this 40 times more than the nearest contender for Spurs—Gareth Bale
At times last season, Spurs looked rather stagnant in their approach play and relied too heavily on Eriksen to spice up their attack, while Emmanuel Adebayor became their unexpected primary goal-getter.
However, if they were to give Lamela licence to roam in from the wing or even to play alongside Eriksen behind a lone striker, they'd certainly have an exciting outlet more than capable of rattling the net.
Having featured in all of Belgium's World Cup matches in Brazil, helping them to reach the quarter-finals, Jan Vertonghen will likely have received a massive boost in confidence.
Because if there's another department that needs tidying up for Spurs, it's their defence.
Far from the meanest of rearguards, last season they ended up with a paltry goal difference of just four, thanks in large part to a rather leaky back four which saw them conceded more goals than any other team inside the top eight.
In fact, the 51 goals they conceded was a noticeable deterioration on the 46 from their 2012/13 campaign. So, it's clear to see they've got to re-assess just how they're defending.
And Pochettino would be wise to take note of any improvements Vertonghen deems necessary.
Having proven himself defensively in each of the five matches he played in this summer's global extravaganza in South America, as well as grabbing an important goal, his commanding presence at the back could go a long way to seeing an improvement in the "goals against" column come next May for Spurs.
Belgium conceded just three goals in Brazil, one each against Algeria, the USA and Argentina—and the States' strike didn't hit the net until extra time—so it's clear the Belgian knows how to defend.
Provided he can re-create that form again, pass on his knowledge and continue to build a positive rapport with his compatriots at the back, we might very well see a revival in their defensive capabilities.
And with the Independent's Simon Rice reporting that the 27-year-old is intent on staying put with the white jersey amidst speculation linking him to Barcelona, his passion for the cause cannot be questioned.
Recovering from a summer of disappointment while on national duty with Brazil, Paulinho has much to prove to Spurs fans this season.
His talent remains that of a developing player, but with a new manager trained in the art of getting the best out of young guns as well as kick-starting the fortunes of faded stars, Paulinho should come on in leaps and bounds this season.
Whether or not he does so while playing for the Lilywhites, however, is a different story altogether.
As reported by The Independent's Jack De Menezes, the former Corinthians playmaker is the subject of a potential transfer to Juventus should Arturo Vidal finally secure his protracted move to Manchester United.
And while the Bianconeri would offer the 26-year-old great opportunities such as Champions League football and a tangible possibility of securing a domestic league winners' medal, it also comes with its fair share of pitfalls.
Whereas Tottenham are more of a long-term project, they also offer him the sanctuary of playing regular, first-team football in an environment he's familiar with. Juventus, on the other hand, is still a risky move.
With players such as Roberto Soldado and Erik Lamela, this squad is full to the brim of players keen to prove their worth.
It might just be the key to a successful campaign.
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