With Tottenham Hotspur’s current crop of strikers struggling to make the centre-forward spot their own, the club’s desire to add a new front man to their ranks come the winter is no secret.
Dropped for the weekend’s 4-1 defeat at Manchester City, Emmanuel Adebayor has scored just once in seven league games this term, while his replacement Roberto Soldado is already being linked with a January departure after just one full season at the club, having failed to reproduce the goalscoring form he showed prior to his £26 million move from Valencia last summer.
England under-21 international Harry Kane remains a promising prospect who has shown glimpses of potential but, with most of his minutes this season coming in the Europa League, he is still to prove himself a reliable top-flight option.
It’s no coincidence, therefore, that the likes of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Saido Berahino, Ante Rebic, Jackson Martinez, Mattia Destro, Emmanuel Emenike, Wissam Ben Yedder and even Lukas Podoloski have all been linked with a move to White Hart Lane in recent weeks, but the answer to their problems could in fact be in a league from where one of their recent signings is about to arrive.
Alongside north London-bound DeAndre Yedlin, Chivas USA striker Erick “Cubo” Torres is considered one of the most exciting talents in MLS, who most believe his destined to star in a top European league.
Aged 21, the Mexican hotshot burst onto the scene with local side Chivas de Guadalajara as a teenager and immediately drew comparisons to former club stalwart Javier Hernandez with his finishing instincts.
His impressive displays even lead to rumours of him joining his compatriot at Manchester United in the summer of 2011, but his stock soon fell after his first-team opportunities dried up over the following two seasons.
Eventually dispatched on loan to sister club Chivas USA last summer to rediscover the predatory talents which made him one of Liga MX’s hottest properties, Torres has since been in dazzling form in MLS, scoring 22 goals in 42 regular-season games, despite a lack of service on one of the league’s poorest outfits.
|2014 MLS||Team||Pos||Goals||Total Shot / apps||Shot Acc||Assists||Key Pass / apps||Total Pass / apps||Pass Acc||Dispossessed / apps||Apps||Mins|
|Erick Torres||Chivas USA||FW||15||3.2||41.9%||1||0.7||43.57||73.6%||2.4||27||2355|
Selected to the All-Star team to face Bayern Munich in August, the loanee earned his first national team call-up a few weeks later, before going on to make his full debut in the 1-0 win over Bolivia last month.
‘I appreciate the opportunity that has been given to me by Major League Soccer and with Chivas USA,’ he told Fox Soccer at the time. ‘Coming here, being consistent and doing well has also given me the chance to play for the Mexican national team.
‘It’s a very important step in my career that will take me to the next level. I’m working hard. I hope that things continue to go well for me to make sure there are many more call-ups to the national team.’
Since earning two more caps, while netting his first goal in the recent 1-0 victory over Panama, Torres clearly has a bright international future ahead of him as a new favourite of manager Miguel Herrera, but a big decision awaits him at the club level.
With Chivas USA set for a two-year hiatus at the end of the year due to ownership issues, their now-former backers Guadalajara would no doubt welcome him back to Mexico with open arms.
MLS, however, hold a purchase option in his contract, with several clubs extremely keen to keep him in the league, while European interest has also been mentioned in light of his recent international recognition.
‘I have to wait and see,’ Torres said. ‘I have to finish the season first and foremost. Then I have to sit down with the Chivas Guadalajara representatives, the Major League Soccer representatives and my family. Together, we’ll make the right decision for what is to come.’
With Yedlin potentially arriving from the Seattle Sounders as soon as January, Spurs would be wise to try to bring Torres across the Atlantic with him, given his equal levels of promise and their need for help up top.
While he remains far from the finished article, there’s no doubt that he has the ability to take to English football much in the same way that Mexico teammate Hernandez did during his first few seasons at Old Trafford, and his rumoured $7 million price tag would certainly be somewhat lower than his other European-based counterparts on the market.
Work permit issues could of course crop up, given his few caps at this stage, but Mauricio Pochettino and the club hierarchy should still be moving fast to try to add him to their ranks as soon as possible, or risk seeing him join another top side on the continent.
Should that scenario unfold then you can guarantee that Tottenham’s North American fan base will be growing tenfold with both him and Yedlin starring in the Premier League week in week out.