Villas Boas must add depth to Tottenham squad
Published: 06.07.12 / Written by: David Gold
Andre Villas Boas’ arrival as Spurs coach has now been confirmed, and the Portuguese can now plan for the new season ahead.
This time last year he found himself in a similar position, newly arrived in London with a team who expect Champions League qualification at worst, and with doubts over whether he was up to the task.
He should be in a better position this time, with a squad tactically better suited to his style. Pace, movement and passing are intrinsic the Portuguese’s set up, and his team have those attributes and the technical skill required.
But Villas Boas also needs to ensure that he has a squad which listens to him and respects his decisions. He did not have that at Chelsea, no doubt in part as he was dealing with egos far larger than those he will have inherited from Harry Redknapp.
First on the shortlist seems to be Joao Moutinho. The midfielder would complement the signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim, and assuage the inevitable departure of Luka Modric. But Villas Boas needs to improve the whole squad.
Last season Spurs were highly impressive in the first two thirds of the campaign. Particularly when they had a fully fit team mid season and they pulled together a string of results at a time when they looked like the best team in the country. But Tottenham found themselves up against it when they were not at full strength. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon on the wings gave Spurs good width and pace, but Lennon was injured for much of the latter part of the season. If Bale was injured they would have a double problem out wide, and Villas Boas may wish to bring in another player to act as back up on either side. Redknapp used Rafael van der Vaart at times, but he is a player who likes to play centrally and so that was a poorly conceived plan.
But Tottenham also need a centre forward, and if they cannot sign Emmanuel Adebayor will look elsewhere to strengthen. Leandro Damiao is a highly talented centre forward for Internacional in Brazil, and the 2010 Copa Libertadores champions may sell if a high enough offer comes in. Damiao is likely to be in London this summer for the Olympic Games, and Tottenham may wish to make a move before that if they want the Brazilian, who has good technique but also the physical presence to play as a centre forward for a Premier League team fielding a 4-5-1 system.
Alternatively, they could go for Marseille’s Loic Remy, a fast and technical forward with an eye for goal. Further back, Spurs will probably sign Jan Vertonghen, and may wish to bring in another defender with more pace and who is younger than those they currently have.
Ultimately, this is a key challenge for Villas Boas. Increasing the depth of the squad, as well as ensuring new recruits are of the requisite quality. Tottenham seemed to have a thin squad beyond their first eleven last term, and were found wanting at the end.
Their fortunes for the future are now intertwined with the equally uncertain prospects of their coach. Both will need to work together to ensure that this season is a success, and that may help mean that Villas Boas has a better time of things this campaign than he did last.