At the start of the summer there was frenzied speculation (often on this site) about the players that Spurs were to imminently sign. However, we’re now a just week away from the end of June and there is no sign of a Dzeko or a Turan.
No one else is signing anyone either and it very much looks like it could stay that way until the end of the World Cup, or at least until some major talent begins to get knocked out.
One World Cup star who we’ve been consistently linked with is Uruguay’s Diego Forlan. He’s already got two goals in the tournament and given Uruguay’s draw, he is a real contender to be the top scorer in the competition.
I think that Uruguay will overcome South Korea and either Ghana or USA, to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup. There’s not much between the sides, but what the South Americans have in their favour are strikers that can and will score. Forlan has notched 26 goals in 65 international appearances and his strike partner Luiz Suarez (also linked with a move to Spurs) has just had a brilliant season with Ajax.
Having scored 48 goals in 49 games for Ajax and aged just 23, there are some that would believe Suarez to be the more attractive signing. The quoted figures of £35m+ seem to rule out a Spurs bid though and Martin Jol has indicated that he believes that Suarez will only leave Ajax to join a true European giant.
Also, whilst Suarez’s statistics are impressive, there is always a doubt as to whether what has been achieved in the Dutch league, can be replicated elsewhere. For every Van Nistlerooy, Ronaldo or Romario who has left Holland and hit the big time, there has been a Kuyt, Alfonso Alves or Mateja Kežman who has struggled to score goals on a bigger stage.
Forlan’s spell at Manchester United between 2002 and 2004, indicated that he too was a striker who would not be able to cut it in the major league. Yet whilst he failed to cut at Old Trafford, he has excelled at Villarreal and Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
Whilst at Villarreal, Forlan scored 59 goals in 125 games. Since joining Atletico he has hit a further 86 in 153 games. He has twice been the top scorer in the Spanish league and on both occasions also claimed the title of Europe’s deadliest marksmen.
I would wager that if Forlan returned to England he would be a success. My memory of his time in Manchester was that he was a player who always seemed to be hitting the woodwork or going desperately close to scoring. As a young player, it must have affected his confidence and he went some eight months before netting his first goal for United. Perhaps if he’d have got an early tap in, things might have turned out differently.
Forlan is said to be keen on a return to England, but at 31 he might have left it too late. He is still at the top of his form and as such, Atletico are quite rightly reluctant to sell and reputedly wouldn’t settle for less than £20m for the striker. It would be quite a price to pay for a man who might only have a couple more seasons at the top.
The Verdict: In terms of talent, Forlan would seem to be an ideal purchase. Redknapp has indicated that he is after players this summer who would be ready made first team members, rather than youngsters who will need time to settle.
Yet Daniel Levy has traditionally been loathe to purchase anyone for a major fee if we will struggle to get that money back. If we signed Forlan for £20m, that money would have to be completely written off, because even if he had a couple of fantastic seasons, no one is going to pay major money for a 33-year old.
So unless Atletico take a sudden interest in Giovanni Dos Santos and Roman Pavlyuchenko, I’d be very surprised if Forlan ended up at Spurs. In fact, I can’t see anyone paying the sort of money that it would take to sign him. Unless of course it’s someone who really could afford to write the money off. Like Manchester City.