We're less than a week away from the opening of the new Premier League season. Although the transfer window is still officially open through the end of August, the season won't wait for the window. As Tottenham Hotspur prepare to open their season against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday, August 13, it's time to take a detailed look at the various parts of Spurs' predicted starting lineup.
Harry Kane, Vincent Janssen, Shayon Harrison, Son Heung-Min, Nacer Chadli, Clinton N’Jie
September 26th, 2015 was a tremendous day. After a slew of early season draws and edgily close scorelines, a green Tottenham side had their first massive win in what would become an unforgettable season. Spurs 4-1 victory over Manchester City sent a statement to the Premier League. It was three victories on the trot for Tottenham at that point but, even more significantly, Harry Kane broke his duck. The academy graduate who lit up the 2014-15 Premier League season with twenty-one league goals and thirty-one in all competitions, was goalless and hearing it from an ever anxious British media. Spurs emphatic win and Harry Kane's appearance on the scoresheet silenced the critics and kept them at bay for the remainder of the season as Tottenham put forth a genuine title challenge.
With fifty-nine goals in two years, the 2015-16 Premier League's golden boot recipient is one of the best, if not THE best, striker in England and he plays for Tottenham Hotspur. Jamie Vardy scores at an incredible clip, Sergio Aguero has a penchant for the spectacular, and Romelu Lukaku is a handful for any defense, but Harry Kane might just be the best all around of the group.
What separates Kane from the rest are the types of goals he scores and his ability to drop back and combine far from the opposition's net. Harry Kane is prolific in front of goal, yet there isn't really a specific scenario where he is more lethal than the next. He can curl in long range efforts (see Arsenal 2016!), just as easily as he can score with his head during the run of play. He is clinical in isolated scoring opportunities, yet scrappy among a swarm of defenders in knock down situations. Kane can be the big target man and relieve pressure by holding up play, but also can be found fifty yards from net working with Eriksen, Dembélé or Dier and freeing up space behind.
The bottom line is that save world-class pace, Harry Kane lacks little. With back-to-back incredible seasons under his belt, the young Englishman can be considered not only England's best striker, but among the elite in Europe too. Who else could Tottenham Hotspur possibly want to lead their line instead?
For as good as Harry Kane was last year, there was always the spectre of serious injury that haunted Spurs. Luckily Kane stayed healthy all term, yet the inability to sign Saido Berahino from West Bromwich Albion last summer left Spurs dangerously short in its striker depth chart. Sure Clinton N'Jie and Son Heung-Min were touted as reserves, but nobody in their right mind would perceive them as able long term replacements.
Enter Vincent Janssen. Spurs have been efficient in addressing the quality of squad depth in both the striker and central midfield positions without overspending this summer. With Victor Wanyama Spurs have a strong and ready footballer for the middle, but in Janssen Tottenham have acquired another potential superstar. Janssen was Harry Kane-esque in his proficiency last season with AZ Alkmaar scoring thirty-one goals in all competitions yet, equally as telling, its his place as the unabashed current and future number nine for the Dutch national team that bolsters his promise.
There is always worry surrounding attackers transferring from the goal-rich Eredivisie, but many of the qualities that have made Janssen great, are what make Kane great, and are transferable to the Premier League. Janssen is touted as being obsessive about his fitness and training regimen — there are no extra-curricular worries for this one —and he scores goals from every angle and situation conceivable.
Janssen chose Spurs over PSG and for good reason. He and Poche are already said to be of the same footballing philosophy and the man will be guaranteed to get games to prove his worth in the most epic of stages this year. With a high-octane fixture list, where Spurs will never have the luxury of throwing out a second string squad in mid-week Champions League matches, Janssen will be asked to play a crucial role in Europe and the Premier League. He even offers Poche the option of a different look with a two striker setup. Of course, he still has to perform. In theory though, Tottenham look to have the strongest one-two punch in their forward line since the Berbatov-Keane era. If Janssen is a success, it could be a historic pairing for Spurs in terms of its quality.
The third striking option in the 2016-17 season really depends on the health of Kane and Janssen. It could be argued that Levy and Pochettino should go find a bargain veteran to fill the role of third striker. Earlier in the window it was rumored that Spurs were actually in the hunt for two of Michy Batshuayi, Vincent Janssen, and Antonio Sanabria. However, there are not enough games for two high profile striker signings and Tottenham's Shayon Harrison has seemingly eradicated any idea of signing an experienced, but cheap, third option. The nineteen year old has impressed when training with the first team and even notched a tap-in against Inter this preseason. The youngster has pedigree and, while still a couple years off from making a huge impact, is good enough to eat up domestic cup fixtures with the first team. It is a perfect situation for him to flourish and one that Pochettino always promotes.
In a scenario of which Kane and Janssen go down though, otherwise known as ARMAGEDDON where the earth implodes upon itself and rages with misery and flame, look to Son Heung-Min to take the first choice striker reigns. Harrison is exciting, but probably not ready for primetime. If important Premier League fixtures are at stake, our South Korean can do the job in a pinch. Clinton N’Jie is now looking like he might be staying at Tottenham after all, and the young Cameroonian could provide a spark at striker if he impresses in training and is called upon.
As for Nacer Chadli, well he is gliding through the cold waters of the Bristol Channel right now waiting for his transfer to Swansea go through. Even with the likely collapse of the Georges-Kevin N’Koudou transfer, which could necessitate him staying at White Hart Lane, there are enough actual striker options already that there should be no real reason to ever – EVER – consider Nacer Chadli at the tip of the spear.
Spurs have an authentic superstar to lead the line and a budding international to back him up. This is Friday happy hour exciting. Au revoir, Peter Crouch, Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuhenko, Roberto Soldado, and even Nacer Chadli. We love you all, but you never gave us what really desired (Ok, maybe you did sometimes JD). We have searched for a proper striking corps for almost a decade and now we have one. REJOICE, I say, REJOICE!