Daniel Levy's Imaginary Shortlist: Jelle Vossen

Dino Panato

Since #WeNeedAStriker is still a thing, I thought I'd take it upon myself to do a post on someone that plays a position that Spurs actually need.

Other than Spain, there's probably not another European country that is producing as much interesting and exciting talent as Belgium. Tottenham already have a strong Belgian contingent, with Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele, but there are still plenty more young talents to be had.

The Basics

Name: Jelle Vossen

Age: 23

Team: Ajax

League: Eredivisie

Primary position: Central Defender

Can also play: Central Attacking Midfield

Sure, Christian Benteke (only a year younger) and Romelu Lukaku (not coming to Spurs ever) get more press, but Vossen has been even more impressive than these two, at least in terms of actually putting the ball in the back of the net in recent years.

The Specifics

I'll come out and say this right at the top, so no one calls me out for it in the comments later: Vossen is damn good, but he's not the elite line-leading striker that Tottenham Hotspur need to take themselves from top 4 contender to top four mainstay. But If you want a young striker with an impressive goal-scoring record that works hard and is actually capable of applying a composed finish to a clear-cut chance then Vossen is the guy for you.

As I mentioned above, many have been enamored with Benteke since his arrival from Belgium this summer, but it seems pretty much everyone has forgotten that it was Benteke's teammate Vossen who was scoring all the goals and propelling Genk to a league and (super) cup double in 2010-11 and a third place finish in the league last season. Here is the important number: 65. That's how many goals Vossen has scored since the start of the 2010 season. He scored those goals in 110 games. Giving him a strike rate of 1 goal every 1.69 games or a goal every 152 minutes. Not bad, right? Now, before you start yelling about how bad defenses are in Belgium, don't forget that Benteke and Lukaku both came from that league and neither had strike rates that good.

Want to see some evidence of his skills, but are too lazy to type his name into the Google machine? Fine. Here you go.

Vossen is definitely more of a goal poacher, a fox in the box. His position is excellent and his finishing is top class and every time I've watched Genk play this year I've been really impressed both with his workrate and with his willingness to find open teammates. That's an underrated quality in strikers of his ilk. It's something that we've seen Jermain Defoe improve on slightly this season and it really seems to have upped his game.

Unlike his fellow Belgian strikers who are already making a name for themselves in the Premier League Vossen isn't exactly a physical specimen. He's only 5'10 and isn't particularly fast or strong. At 23, soon to be 24, that's probably not ever going to change. He may get muscled off of the ball by stronger Premier League defenders and he's not going to beat a lot of people with pace. At times his first touch seems to let him down as well, but he tends to make up for that by being a class finisher.

Vossen might find life in the Premier League difficult, but there are plenty of examples of physically average players doing well because of excellent technical abilities. The ability to put yourself into the right position and finish is something that translates and is something you don't even really need to be big or fast to do. He's not going to come in and be the best striker at Spurs, but for a team that's a Jermain Defoe injury away from having no strikers he's a damn good option.

The Verdict

Likely price: ~£5 million

Probability that valuation is wrong: Benteke signed for £7 million and is younger. I'd say this figure is pretty close. (Football manager says £4 million, in case you were curious).

Team's willingness to sell: Genk are still in the Europa League and are sixth in the table, but well behind leaders Anderlecht. The club has a great youth academy and number of good young attackers. Moving Vossen when he's at his peak value makes sense.

Fit at Tottenham Hotspur: Would he probably be a better fit at a club like Sunderland or Fulham? Sure. He's not a guy that consistently plays in the first XI for a top four side. So his fit at Spurs is just ok, but we need a striker, right?

Possibility he ends up at Spurs: Probably low. I haven't seen anything linking him with a move to Spurs. In fact there aren't many rumors about him at all. Most recently linked with Everton and Sunderland.

Grade if this transfer goes through at likely price: C+. Vossen basically becomes the Belgian Roman Pavlyuchenko (they even have the same goal celebration) without the shots blasted into row Z. Sure £5 million instead of £13.7 makes the deal seem great, but it still doesn't solve our striker problem and may even block some of our younger talents. In the end you have a striker with Champions League experience that can score goals, so it's not all bad.

Other players on Daniel Levy's imaginary shortlist: Alan Dzagoev | Alvaro Negredo | Mateo Kovacic | Leandro Damiao | Beñat | Younes Belhanda | Will Hughes | Christian Eriksen | Willian

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