[box_light]Editors Note: This article was written before the news broke that Tottenham had agreed a deal with Valencia for Roberto Soldado.[/box_light]
As the transfer window passes this summer, the stories linking players with potential new clubs have increased. Some are ridiculous, some believable and some (three in particular) that have dominated the newspapers for several weeks now. One story that has credibility behind it and that has been around for a few weeks is that of Roberto Soldado to Tottenham.
According to the stories, Tottenham sent Franco Baldini to Spain to negotiate with Valencia for the Spaniard’s transfer but so far, talks have come to nothing. It is perhaps unsurprising then, that Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko is now being linked with the North London club. Both players have found no difficulty in scoring goals for their respective clubs, so looking at the two in more detail, who is the better prospect for Tottenham under Andre Villas Boas’ style of play?
Last season, Soldado made 35 appearances in La Liga for Valencia, only two of which were from the bench. He scored 24 goals for the club and added four assists to his tally. His goal count for the league season came from a total of 100 shots and he strayed offside 32 times, giving him an average of 0.9 offsides per game. Soldado functioned as the centre forward and looking at the stats, it’s easy to see that the team’s play was built around him. WhoScored.com lists his characteristics as being a great finisher and does very well at holding the ball up.
Dzeko, on the other hand, made 32 appearances for City in the Premier League, but only 16 of these were from the start. Despite this, the Bosnian was still able to score 14 goals from 76 shots and also provide three assists for his team – one less than Soldado with much less playing time. However, Dzeko was dispossessed 47 times compared to just 25 times for Soldado. This statistic though, could be more reflective of the fact that Dzeko plays in a much tougher league, physically. Alternatively, it could simply suggest that the City striker can’t hold on to the ball as well as his Spanish counterpart.
As for how the players could blend into AVB’s system, Soldado would be the safer bet for my money. Yes, Dzeko has experience of playing in English football and yes, he has played in a 4-3-3 formation plenty of times before, but his worrying problems with holding on to the ball put him behind Soldado. The Valencia striker has played in AVB’s preferred 4-3-3 system many times at his club, despite Unai Emery’s experiments with the 4-3-2-1 formation. Even more recently, he performed well in the Spanish 4-3-3 at the Confederations Cup when he was given his chance by Vicente Del Bosque.
In my opinion, AVB will also be looking for a striker who can hold the ball up well (much better than Adebayor) in order to bring the likes of Bale (if he stays at White Hart Lane) and Lennon into play in and around the box. Obviously, the striker will also have to provide a much higher threat than has often been on show from Tottenham’s strikers, and chances aplenty will be created for him by the aforementioned players and others.
Looking at the stats once more, it’s hard to look past Soldado for this and it is why, in my opinion, Tottenham will throw everything they have at Valencia in an attempt to bring the Spaniard, rather than Dzeko, to London.
Soldado Stats via WhoScored