It wasn't too long ago that Tottenham Hotspur were searching high and low for the man who would be their next great striker. We were lead to believe that Roberto Soldado would be that man, but it turned out that a young English player, an academy graduate no less, would be the answer. Spurs seemed to have learned their lesson on high-priced foreign imports and are now targeting a kind of high-priced Englishman, Callum Wilson.
Now, if you've not heard Wilson's name before, I won't blame you. The 23 year old England U-21 international has just finished up his campaign in the Championship, England's second tier. His team, AFC Bournemouth managed to win the league in rather exciting fashion, helped along the way by twenty goals from Wilson. Despite that promotion, Wilson is rumored to be seeking a new contract from the Cherries, who seem prepared to offer him a five-year deal. However, a £12 million fee and a big contract might be too much for either player or club to say no to.
Wilson is a poacher in the mold of Jermain Defoe. Looking at his statistics this year, most of Wilson's shots have come from inside the penalty area, where he often uses his blinding pace to get in behind the defense and latch onto through balls from his teammates. His pace would bring a different element to the Tottenham attack, one that has been sorely lacking.
One of many questions I have about Wilson is how he would fair if asked to play as the lone striker. For Bournemouth he's played primarily in a 4-4-2 formation, partnering the more physical Brett Pittman. Were he to play alone up front, he'd almost certainly need someone like Chadli tucking in from the wing alongside him. In discussing him with some of the other writers, it was pointed out that on a per 90 minute basis, Wilson's stats are pretty "meh." Also, he doesn't really pass much (averaging under 17 per match), so if he gets the ball he's shooting.
In general I think this signing sounds good in theory. While Wilson, like any signing from outside the Premier League, would need time to adjust to the speed and pace of the game, he's available at a reasonable enough price and is at a young enough age that he won't mind fighting for his spot in the team. A proven Premier League player, like Danny Ings or Charlie Austin, might have some trepidation about coming in and immediately being cast as second banana to Harry Kane. While Wilson's underlying statistics may not be quite as impressive as his raw counting stats, I do think that the pace he brings would be a big asset of the bench or in support of Kane.
All that said, I don't think this deal is particularly likely. I imagine Bournemouth will be trying to hold on to as many of the players that got them promoted as possible. Losing your best goalscorer right before you begin your club's first ever season in the top-flight doesn't sound like a good idea, but maybe the Cherries are stupid enough to let us have Wilson for a decent chunk of change.