Sunday Football Spotlight: Tottenham’s Roberto Soldado

As Spurs prepare for this afternoon's north London derby, Vincent Ralph turns the spotlight on their star striker.

The pleas from White Hart Lane grew so regular they had become something of a catchphrase for Tottenham’s supporters.

We need a new striker,” they said, throughout each new transfer window, the club seemingly trying but failing to grant their wish.

That was until this summer when, for £26million, Roberto Soldado arrived.

It was a considerable outlay for a man unproven in the Premier League. And yet any concerns were swiftly replaced by elation, as the Spaniard hit the ground running, scoring four goals in his first three games.

But those early strikes will pale into insignificance if he fires his new side to victory this afternoon in the north London derby.

While Arsenal continue their search for new arrivals, Tottenham have carried out arguably the most impressive business in England.

Their hat-trick of signings on Friday brought the number of new faces to seven, and while they will have to wait for their first taste of one of the Premier League’s fiercest rivalries, Soldado gets his chance this afternoon.

His 30 goals for Valencia last season spoke of a man at the peak of his career. It was by far his most prolific campaign to date. And yet the way he has started life at Spurs, who is to say he couldn’t beat last season’s total?

There is a long way to go, and fitness and form will be vital, but both his past and his impressive new beginning suggest Soldado could be a viable alternative to Robin van Persie for the golden boot come May.

With Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela soon to join him in the team, the Spaniard could be on the end of numerous chances in the coming months and years.

But for now it is all about one match, and whether a free-scoring, neutral’s delight, or a cagey affair settled by a single goal, Soldado will hope to make the difference…and the headlines.

Will Soldado be the difference this afternoon?  And is the Spurs squad now just a left-back away from being complete?

image: © Victor Gutierrez Navarro

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