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Daniel Grigg, London24 Tottenham blogger
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
London24 Tottenham Blogger Daniel Grigg wonders what signing Juan Mata would mean to the club
Over the past week we have heard Harry Redknapp admitting his desire to sign Juan Mata, and stating Tottenhams need to add to their roster of central midfielders.
Given that the manager is expecting one or two more recruits, we have to question whether the midfielders that Redknapp wants are now threatening to distract him from chasing the striker that he needs.
Obviously, as much as Mata could nominally be described a striker, he certainly isnt the lone centre forward that Tottenham were searching for at the start of the summer.
The Spain and Valencia winger lacks the strength and aerial ability to flourish as a point man - a battle against sturdy Premier League centre-backs like Ryan Shawcross, Chris Samba or John Terry would be a total mismatch and a waste of a brilliant talent.
However, is there some method in the madness here? Is there a chance that, having so far failed to land one of their top striker targets, Spurs could still make a success of their season while relying on the inconsistent forwards they already have?
The answer may be yes, if the Lilywhites now changed their approach, and sought to strengthen a midfield which, judging by last seasons Champions League run, is already amongst the most dangerous in European football.
The question is this: Would Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale and Mata score and create so many goals between them that it would make a 20-goal a season striker unnecessary?
Last season, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Robbie Keane scored just 20 league goals between them - although they managed a combined 14 goals in the supposedly tougher Champions League matches.
The season before, however, the same quartet netted over twice as many goals in the Premier League, with a total of 37 during that successful 2009/10 campaign, when the Lilywhites finished in the top four.
Bale, Van der Vaart and Mata scored 28 league goals between them last season, with another seven added in the Champions League, while in 2009/10 they scored a combined 18 times in Premier League or La Liga matches.
What conclusions to make, then? Well firstly, if Spurs cannot attract a top-quality striker of the level of a Giuseppe Rossi, for example, it is probably best to stick with what we have already got and spend what money there is on a world-class talent like Mata, even if he is a midfielder.
It has been a summer where both Spurs and the players that they have been linked with suddenly seem to have become very choosy.
Like Manchester City and Chelsea, Tottenham are now holding out for the really big players who can bring really big improvements. However, unlike Chelsea and Man City, we risk setting our sights too high and coming out with nothing.
At the same time, I have to say that I am glad and relieved that Spurs havent lowered their sights too soon, got nervous and started signing the likes of Joey Barton or Scott Parker to try to keep the fans happy and appear more active in the transfer window.
Both middle men could still be termed as utility players at a club like Tottenham and, considering the wages both are wanting, they could have been a real drain on the clubs resources, without solving any of the major problems from last season.
On the other hand, were Spurs to win the race for Mata, that could really be the forward step that takes the club back into serious contention for a place in the top four.