FanPost

Daniel Levy's imaginary shortlist: Aleksandr Kozlov

Because no one is reading these anymore, I'm just going to pump out my last two (which have already been written for a couple of days) over the course of today.



The Basics

Name: Aleksandr Sergeyevich Kozlov

Age: 19

Team: Spartak Moscow

League: SOGAZ Football Championship (Russia)

Primary position: Striker

Can also play: Nothing of note


Kozlov has never played away from striker, but his physical and technical skills show that he could probably succeed a bit deeper or on the wing.



The Specifics

Kozlov has long been a hyped member of Russia's youth setup. He is pacey, very strong for his small stature and good with both feet, but his best trait is his close ball control, which lets him squeeze into tight spaces and make killer passes or powerful shots. As I mentioned earlier, he is a fairly small player, and thus doesn't head the ball particularly well. He has spent most of his time with the Russian youth teams (where he has seen the majority of his playing time) alongside another, larger striker, so that Kozlov himself is allowed to be the more mobile of the pair. As such, it is hard to judge his hold-up play, but based on his strength, it is hard to imagine it would be particularly poor.


Kozlov has struggled for playing time in striker-heavy Spartak Moscow, so most of his playing time has come in the Russian national youth teams. He has impressed in each of the U-17, U-18 and U-19 categories (20 goals in 18 games for the U-17s, 2 in 2 for the U-18s and 2 in 3 for U-19s), but he has primarily seen a role as a late game sub in club matches, starting just one game for Spartak (against Žilina in the Champions League). He also saw a loan to second division Khimki fail earlier this season, as he started two games for the club, but reportedly asked to end the loan prematurely. Now, just because he can't get minutes at Spartak doesn't mean that he's not good enough for Spurs. In fact, his playing time is not limited by his quality, but by the fact that Spartak have 5 times as many first team strikers as Tottenham, about half of which are above him on the pecking order.


The success of a transfer for Kozlov depends entirely on where the club sees its young striker prospects. If Harry Kane, Souleymane Coulibaly and Shaquile Coulthirst are all believed to fit into the first team eventually, a transfer for Kozlov would be completely pointless, but if none of them are good enough according to Daniel Levy, Andre Villas-Boas and Tim Sherwood, Kozlov would be a good third choice for the rest of the season and an excellent prospect going forward. Whilst he's not the marquee striker signing that many want, he'd be a good step in replacing the aging Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor.



The Verdict

Likely price: £5 million

Probability that valuation is wrong: Low. Kozlov hasn't exactly starred for Spartak, but his international youth performances and his potential keep his price up slightly.

Team's willingness to sell: High. Spartak have an excessive amount of strikers and are probably looking at Waris Abdul Majeed and Pavel Yakovlev (a guy who I really don't rate at all) rather than Kozlov to be their strikers for the future.

Fit at Tottenham Hotspur: Decent. Whilst he's definitely a player for the future, he could still have an impact right now, as his strength and energy make him a perfect super-sub while he hones his skills. As he develops, further refinement of his technical skills could combine with his immense physical ability to make him an incredible player.

Possibility he ends up at Spurs: Good. Spurs need a striker and Spartak need less strikers. The asking price is fairly low for a player of his quality and he could do a job for Tottenham.

Grade if this transfer goes through at likely price: B-

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