Tottenham Hotspur fans were able to welcome three new players at White Hart Lane on Saturday, and the performances of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Nacer Chadli will have given them plenty of reasons to be optimistic ahead of the new season, but perhaps the biggest ovations of the day were saved for Younes Kaboul and Sandro, who both returned from long-term injuries.
Normally a cliche that football fans hate, the idea that a player returning from injury is like a new signing normally brings questions as to why the club are not making actual new signings.
However Spurs’ fine early business has made it easier for their fans to enjoy the return of Kaboul and Sandro all the more, and both players will be integral to their team’s chances of success this season.
Even without an injury crisis at centre-back Spurs would be delighted to see Kaboul back, with the French player missing all but one of their matches last year. His injury might have to be managed, although hopefully not to the extent Ledley King had to be protected in the later years of his Spurs career, but Kaboul is likely to establish himself as first choice alongside Jan Vertonghen if he remains fit.
Meanwhile Sandro’s towering presence in midfield will be central to Andre Villas-Boas plans, if he sticks with a 4-2-3-1 or changes to a 4-3-3 formation. The additions of Paulinho and Etienne Capoue show that the Portuguese is keen to ensure that Spurs are not left short of power in midfield, and Sandro embodies that attribute to the maximum.
Both players are dominant on the pitch and leaders within the side, and Sandro also brings an uncompromising commitment that has endeared him to the fans. Having the pair back is akin to signing two excellent players, with the bonus that they are already established at the club, and Spurs fans are right to be delighted at their return.
image: © simonw92