Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas looks set to stay at White Hart Lane after turning down an approach from Paris Saint-Germain. The Portuguese Spurs boss will reap the rewards of his decision to stay by being handed a ‘£50 million kitty’ to spend on player transfer this summer.
The manager will have likely already addressed key areas of his team that need revising but with the players available in the market this summer, he will still have some tough choices to make.
Tottenham are likely going to need to reinvest in their defence this summer, following Williams Gallas’ departure – Spurs are have been linked for months on end with one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League this term in Swansea City’s Ashley Williams.
Williams would be a quality addition to Villas-Boas’ back line and could pretty much walk straight into the first-team line-up due to his experience and quality. He’d likely cost around £8 million which is a reasonable price for a 28-year-old top tier centre back with the added credentials of being captain both club and country.
However, Spurs already have two effectively first-choice central defenders who virtually pick themselves week in week out – if they’re fit both Jan Vertonghen and Michael Dawson are a superb pairing. Perhaps Villas-Boas would be better off bringing in 24-year-old Napoli defender Federico Fernandez for around the same fee that Williams would command.
He’s younger, faster and taller than Williams and he’d be a better option for the long-term. Between the two options, I’d probably go for Williams – they don’t really come much better for that price and you couldn’t guarantee Fernandez wouldn’t struggle to adapt to the pace, intensity, and physicality of English football.
Next up, Villas-Boas must decide which additions to make in his central midfield. He already has a fair bit of quality in Sandro, Mousa Dembele, Gylfi Sugurdsson and Lewis Holtby but what he really needs is a flair player who can mix it up a bit to combine with Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon on the flanks, hopefully to devastating effect.
That kind of quality won’t come cheap – he’s probably looking at upwards of £15 million to get the required level of player.
Tottenham are heavily linked with Brazilian midfielder Paulinho of Corinthians and have reportedly already bid around £15 million for him. The 24-year-old possesses great aerial capabilities – he’s strong, powerful and would offer a stronger presence in front of the back line than Scott Parker.
But he’s not at all the ‘flair player’ Spurs really need and with Sandro returning to fitness, there isn’t the desperate need for Paulinho there might have been in January. If Villas-Boas wants flair, he could find it in abundance in Athletico Mineiro’s Bernard.
The 20-year-old Brazilian is an attacking midfielder with exceptional technique, control and a low centre of gravity like Luka Modric. He could definitely boost the creativity in the team and take the weight off Bale’s shoulders. Spurs have reported already made contact with Athletico Mineiro regarding the players’ potential availability.
He’s rated in the region of £18 million but for such a young player with such outstanding talent, he’d likely be worth every penny. If Sandro can stay fit next season, there is much less of a requirement for Paulinho – his junior compatriot would be my pick, pound for pound.
So, assuming Villas-Boas has hypothetically bought Williams and Bernard, he’s left with around £24 million in his pocket and desperate need for a quality striker. For that money, Spurs could have a player like Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke who Villas-Boas knows can score goals (19 in the league this term) and wouldn’t need any time to adjust to English football.
Villa are reluctant to sell him but bids over £20 million would likely test their resolve. However, competition from a number of Europe’s elite like Borussia Dortmund and North London rivals Arsenal could make for an ugly bidding war.
Pound for pound, Villas-Boas may wish to look closer home in his native Portugal where FC Porto striker Jackson Martinez scored 26 goals in 30 appearances having come in last summer to replace Radamel Falcao. He’d likely cost just under £25 million and at 26 years of age, he’s entering the peak years of a striker’s career.
He’s got experience in the Europa League this term with Porto and Villas-Boas could likely use his relationship with the club to ensure Spurs get him ahead of any competitors. Between Benteke and Martinez, the Columbian would be my choice.
Porto brought him in replace Falcao and their scout are rarely wrong about South American potential. If they think he’s capable of replacing the most-wanted man in Europe this summer, I’m not going to argue with them.
How would you spend £50 million if you were AVB?
images:, © hollidaypics