Tottenham Hotspur need a striker. That is indisputable. Depending on who you ask, they might need two strikers. Or maybe they should ditch Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe for whatever price they can fetch and sign three strikers. In any event, the position is Spurs' top need, and as a result the rags have linked us to every potentially available center forward under the sun.
In our site chatroom, we had no problem coming up with 15 players who can play center forward that we've been linked to in some way. I've decided to narrow this list down to 10 players, getting rid of guys who we can't actually sign and who are not actually strikers. That means no Son Heung-Min, who is not a true striker, and no Gonzalo Higuain, who has been the subject of genuine, verifiable interest from clubs that are indisputably bigger than Spurs.
These players are ranked according to not just their skill, but their potential fit with the team and the value they will give Spurs for money in production, wages relative to comparable players and potential resale value.
10. 'Chucho' Cristian Benitez
I'm not going to talk about his time at Birmingham City, which is irrelevant to me. I love Chucho and I don't hold putting up bad statistics under Alex McLeish against anyone. I think he's a bad pickup because he's not a good fit for Spurs. He's a slightly more well-rounded version of Jermain Defoe who is going to cost £9m. He's not going to get any better than he is right now. This would be a bad signing, since we already have Jermain Defoe. If we sell Defoe, we'd probably get less than £9m. The Chucho rumor is dumb. If he goes to a team in Serie A or La Liga that plays with two strikers, he'll kill it, but he's a bad fit for Spurs.
9. David Villa
Again, this is a guy I don't have a bad word to say about. David Villa is one of the best strikers of his generation and the all-time leading scorer for a team that won three consecutive major international titles. He's a legend, without a doubt. He's also not worth over £100k a week at this point in his career, nor is he worth shelling out an eight-figure transfer fee for. He's old. He's been declining for two years.
8. Matej Vydra
Vydra has the frame to be more than a Defoe or Chucho, but does he have the game? I don't think he does. I think he got hot while playing next to a behemoth of a striker in Troy Deeney, in front of a center of midfield that was simply beastly for the Championship, playing in a system that Championship teams didn't know how to defend. He went icy cold in the second half of the season and doesn't appear to have skills beyond running fast and finishing at this point in his career. If we can buy him for less than we sell Defoe for, cool. Otherwise, I'm not interested.
7. Mirko Vucinic
It's not that Mirko Vucinic is bad, it's just that he's bad at what Tottenham Hotspur are likely to ask him to do. Vucinic is a great left forward or second striker, but he's never been a line-leader and he never will be. The only reason he's above the three previously listed players is because Juventus are probably not going to haggle with interested parties about the price. They want to buy a couple of strikers in addition to Fernando Llorente, which means they need to clear some space.
6. Jackson Martinez
If it was a year ago and Martinez was available for £7m and cheap wages from Jaguares de Chiapas, he'd be near the top of this list. Now, if Spurs buy him from Porto, they'll have to pay a massive fee. I think Martinez is the real deal and a great fit for Spurs, but Porto have no incentive to sell him after making out like bandits on the sales of Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez. Martinez would be a great buy at £15m and a solid buy at £20m, but I'm less than enthusiastic about paying £25m for him.
5. Chirstian Benteke
I could copy and paste the last paragraph and change 'Jaguares de Chiapas' to 'Club Brugge' as well as 'Porto' to 'Aston Villa'. There are two reasons Benteke is a slot higher: He has Premier League experience and Villa haven't already sold €70m worth of players this window.
Now we get into the realistic signings. I like Rodrigo a lot as a prospect, though I'm not sure how much he'd contribute to Tottenham Hotspur in his first season. I see him as a lot like Sandro; he'll need to be slowly integrated into the first team in his first season, should become a very good player in his second season and could be a star in his third. He's a bit of a late bloomer, but he's improved with each of his last two seasons and looks like he's still getting better. There's no indication that Benfica want to sell, but unlike Porto, they haven't cashed in on anyone yet this season. If we're going to get him, we might have to pull the trigger before someone else snatches up Ezequiel Garay.
3. Leandro Damiao
After the 2011 Brasileirao, Damiao was one of the world's top prospects. Since then, he's stagnated a bit. That's not to say he isn't a good player -- he still did well in the Brasileirao when healthy last year and turned in some decent shifts for Brazil -- but he's no longer the up-and-coming megastar he once looked to be. He's still awesome and will still be a consistent double-digit Premier League goalscorer, but he's fallen from 'HOLY CRAP £15M IS A BARGAIN PULL THE TRIGGER LEVY' to 'Yeah, he'd be a solid signing at £15m'.
2. Roberto Soldado
Valencia don't want to sell him and Soldado isn't begging to leave. This would mean something if the club were anyone but Valencia, who are broke as hell and out of the Champions League. It's possible that they could choose to sell five players and keep Soldado as the unsalable face of the club, but they'd be dumb to turn down £20m for him. And at £20m, he'd be a damn good signing. He can do everything and is a perfect fit and I won't stand for any of this Soldado doubting nonsense.
1. Mario Gomez
The rumor linking Spurs to Gomez for £7m was an absolutely hysterical pile of garbage, but that doesn't change the fact that Gomez is probably for sale. His agent indicated that he's likely to leave Bayern this summer, though that might have changed with the news that Dortmund absolutely will not sell Robert Lewandowski to the Bavarians. If he is for sale, he's probably for sale for around £20-25m, and would probably ask for wages in the neighborhood of £100-120k per week. At that price, he's a better value than Soldado and Damiao. He'll produce more instantly than Damiao and has better resale value than Soldado. Tottenham basically play a crappier version of Bayern's system under Jupp Heynckes. There's no chance that Gomez is put off by the physical nature of the Premier League or the athleticism of its central defenders. He checks all the boxes, and he'll be looking for a place where he's clearly first choice so that he has a chance to win a starting role on the German World Cup squad.
If the Lewandowski news doesn't change his situation, Gomez is the best striker Levy can realistically acquire. And if he gets it done, get ready to mash the ever-loving crap out of the Gomez Button.