Not only at Cartilage Free Captain, but in all Lilywhite circles, there has been a lot of talk about strikers for some time, and rightly so. Most people, it seems, are hoping Tottenham will purchase a “proven striker," and/or a "young prospect" to be moulded into a goal machine. Everyone has their take on what these quoted terms mean, exactly, but qualifications like “20-goals-a-season striker” and “consistent goal scorer” have been thrown about. Got me thinking, and, well, a bit of time and research brought this:
Zero players have scored 20 goals or more in each of the last three English Premier League seasons.
Two players have scored 20 goals or more in each of the last three La Liga seasons: Messi, Ronaldo.
Zero players have scored 20 goals or more in each of the last three Bundesliga seasons.
Two players have scored 20 goals or more in each of the last three Serie A seasons: Cavani, Di Natale.
Zero players have scored 20 goals or more in each of the last three Ligue 1 seasons.
Even if we scale it back to 20 in two of the last three seasons across the above leagues, only Agüero, Falcao, Gómez, Lewandowski, Negredo, Van Persie, and Zlatan™ can be added to the above four.
None of those players are attainable for Spurs right now; so, there goes that “20-goals-a-season striker” ship some are waiting for. On top of that, neither of the two that have moved this summer really were gettable for Tottenham either. Fiorentina got a jump on the bargain that was Mario Gómez well before the press even decided Spurs were in for him. Sevilla, on the other hand, needed and were holding out for the huge fee Negredo fetched from Manchester City. A check like that was never going to be signed by Tottenham.
Consistency in netting 15 times isn't easy to find either.
Allowing for two 15-goal campaigns in the last three editions of the world's top five leagues (with a little leeway for one, Moussa Sow), we can then consider the following strikers “consistent” twine ticklers: Aubameyang, Benzema, Berbatov, Rubén Castro, Papiss Cissé, Germán Denis, Higuaín, Kießling, Lisandro, Llorente, Michu, and Soldado. That's another 13, five of which are at present unattainable as well. (And Michu isn’t even really a striker.)
At Cartilage Free Captain, the quality of at least three of these "consistent" 24 have been questioned by some in just the past few days; while Castro and Denis would be scoffed at by many out of hand (not that those two would fix what ails Tottenham anyway); and 16 of them are certainly out of the realm of possibility for Spurs at this point in time.
Even most of those that we can reasonably expect to join these fine finishing folk next season (Gomis, Hazard, Lamela, Lampard, Lukaku, Osvaldo, Piti, Reus, etc.) just aren't going to be seeing the pitch at White Hart Lane in the proper colours next season (or ever), aren’t strikers, or have also been cited as not good enough in the past few days.
While there’s more to being a competent striker for a side with Champions League hopes than just filling up the net, what of those that can play as a lone striker and combine perhaps 12 goals with transcendent playmaking? Well, the likes of Manchester City's new Montenegrin plaything, Thomas Müller, Wayne Rooney, Luis Suárez, and Francesco Totti are out of reach as well.
Further, what up-and-coming strikers are going to want to sit behind, say, a Soldado, and Tottenham's current stable of strikers, playing in Europa League and feeding on the scraps of playing time the other three just don't have the appetite for? In all likelihood, not very many. And certainly not the Moratas and Vydras of the world. That allows for a signing of someone like Yaya Sanogo, who will likely go out on loan from Arsenal, or act as the aforementioned scraps vacuum.
Players that can make an impact both now and down the line, like Lorenzo Insigne, Morata, and Vydra aren't trading playing time for Spurs without assurances that their boots will touch grass more often than not on match day.
Those “20-goals-a-season strikers” play with huge wage packets waiting for them every week, or have incredible loyalty to the club that got them there. Even many of those good for 15 goals are either going to be (or have already been) snapped up by Champions League sides before the end of the transfer window, supposedly aren’t of the requisite quality, have little resale value, or aren’t even strikers. And young firecrackers, well, we know about them because they're playing week in and week out. Watching Ade or a Soldado play until the score says everything under Defoe's forehead gets to emerge from his coat in the Premier League (only to continue as a spectator), and banging in a few against Aldershot and Yeovil Towns in the FA Cup won't do much for their development.
In the end, we, the Tottenham support, may want to consider tempering our expectations.
Considering the scarcity of “proven” or “consistent” strikers, and that young footballers want to play football, if even the best of the reasonable pickups, like Soldado, Sow, or even the as yet unmentioned Bosnian striker that seems to be the odd man out at City, end up with a Champions League club ahead of a World Cup year, what say we don’t bring out the pitchforks for Levy, Baldini, and Co. if Spurs start the season having added, say, someone like Pablo Osvaldo for £12-15m?
Tottenham could do a lot worse.