For as long as anyone can remember Spurs have been trying to land the mythical ‘world class’ striker – a tricky proposition when you’re not a Champions League regular.
Since Dimitar Berbatov left the club, Tottenham have been fixated on spending big money – or at least trying to – on proven talent. Huge bids were lodged for unrealistic targets such as Sergio Aguero and Giuseppe Rossi, while the likes of Roman Pavlyuchenko, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado have fallen short of the mark.
What Spurs have failed to do is to take a gamble in the transfer market on a young striker. This is a strange paradox, because their overall transfer strategy has very much been based on identifying young, affordable talent and it’s generally proved successful.
It’s been frustrating to watch other clubs take risks on strikers and reap the rewards. Tottenham fans have often been left scratching their heads wondering ‘why didn’t we sign him?’, as attainable players outperformed our own expensive purchases.
One such player was Wilfried Bony. Spurs could have presumably signed him ahead of Swansea in 2013, when he left Vitesse Arnheim having scored 53 goals in 73 games for the Dutch club.
We can perhaps give the club the benefit of the doubt on that one. For every Ruud van Nistelrooy or Fat Ronaldo that scores plenty in the Eredivisie and goes on to be a world class talent, there is a Dirk Kuyt or Alfonso Alves, who struggled to score at a similar rate.
Yet if the jury was out on Bony when he signed for Swansea, surely a ‘yes’ verdict should have been returned on the player after his first successful season in the Premier League. After some 25 goals in 48 games, Bony proved that he could cut it and scored more league goals than any other player in the first five months of 2014.
Bony would have cost more than when he arrived from Holland but he was still affordable. Halfway through his second season in England and that is no longer the case. Manchester City have blown all other interested parties out of the water with a £30m bid, as Bony proved that he was no one-season wonder.
Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned here as Tottenham look at improving their striking options in the January window. Due to the emergence of Harry Kane, there is not the same pressure to find a goalscoring solution as there has been in previous windows. It is the ideal time to take a gamble.
Spurs find themselves linked with two strikers that fit the bill. One is the Nigerian international Emmanuel Eminike, who has maintained a phenomenal scoring rate in Turkey and Russia for several seasons. Like Bony he has to prove that he can make the step up to a higher quality league, but that would be reflected in his price.
The other is West Brom’s Saido Berahino. Having looked promising in his debut Premier League campaign last season, he’s added consistency to his game and now has 13 goals in 24 appearances.
As he’s English some typically daft valuations have been floating around. In a season when Danny Welbeck has joined Arsenal for £16m, that would seem to be a reasonable figure for a player with a lot still to prove.
Yet it should be remembered that while English talent is more expensive, it doesn’t tend to lose it’s value quite as quickly as your average foreign flop. The likes of Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane came and went over recent seasons with varying degrees of success and the club still managed to recoup it’s overall outlay.
Add the fact that Berahino has proved that he can play in tandem with Harry Kane at England U-21 level and it becomes clear that while there are still some question marks, there are plenty of boxes he ticks. He’s a gamble for sure, but that’s exactly the type of striker that Spurs should be in the market for.