Tottenham Hotspur confirmed today that Harry Kane’s hamstring tear is going to require surgery, which will put him out of training until April. If we’re adding in time to get fit, it’s not crazy to think that Kane may be done for the season. We all know Kane is going to fight like hell to come back as soon as he can because the Euros are this summer and he will need to show England boss Gareth Southgate he’s ready for the tournament.
Spurs, however, need to decide what to do about this now. There’s an injury crisis at the club and José Mourinho’s squad is disappearing faster than a snap of the finger by Thanos. While the midfield is hobbled and fullbacks aren’t exactly 100%, having no actual striker is a major problem that Spurs cannot ignore. Let’s talk about the options facing Mourinho and Daniel Levy.
Son Heung-Min moves to striker.
I’d be shocked if Mourinho’s lineup on Saturday had anyone else at the top, even if he opts for a back three and has Son and Dele playing off of each other in a pairing. Son has played the striker role before, and has done it well. I’d still prefer him on the wing cutting in, but that will only happen if Mourinho opts for the next bullet point:
Lucas plays striker to keep Son wide.
Lucas put in a few solid performances last year in the striker role, specifically the second half against Ajax in the Champions League semi-final. Lucas has good pace, though not quite as good as Sonny. His dribbling ability is what gets him by and there’s a decent argument that he can thrive up top. Making either of these moves also frees up a position for Giovani Lo Celso or Erik Lamela to step into the attacking band as a starter.
Give Troy Parrott a shot!
It’s not really a surprise when I say that Cartilage Free Captain loves the Party Parrott, and while we think his future is bright, he’s still only 17 years old. Given the rumors that Spurs are trying to sign him long-term, there is no better way to show commitment to a young player than giving him a shot at the top level. Now, I’m not saying that Spurs should throw Parrott into the gladiator pit against Liverpool on Saturday, but with an FA Cup tie next week and a few matches against lower table sides? The ability to let the teenager have a shot is definitely there.
After these choices we get into possible transfer moves. Yes, Spurs are notorious for not making big moves in January (Lucas being an exception) but injuries change the game and Mourinho is at least going to ask Levy for some help. If he gets some funds, there are some intriguing options that the club could purchase.
Dries Mertens - SSC Napoli
The 32-year-old Belgian international is out of contract in the summer and has already been rumored to be on the move in January, with Inter Milan and Arsenal both linked. Mertens is a durable attacker with good numbers (13 G+A in 1,425 minutes) and wouldn’t cost more than £10m. Mertens is already sharing time at striker though injuries at Napoli have forced him into more action, so talking him into being the man off the bench to spell Kane once he does come back might not be difficult.
Krzysztof Piątek - AC Milan
Yesterday, we mentioned David Hytner’s piece regarding the Polish international and how there are clubs circling Milan for his services, including Aston Villa and Newcastle United. The £30m price tag is a bit rough and we aren’t sure whether Piątek is actually good or not. Statsbomb shared this on Twitter and...well...
Krzysztof Piatek, AC Milan 2019-20 vs Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur 2019-20.— StatsBomb (@StatsBomb) January 9, 2020
*backs slowly and carefully away from the social media account* pic.twitter.com/C8n7v2msP9
The obvious response to this is that Piątek plays in Serie A and it definitely isn’t the same as the Premier League. This is accurate, and watching the football stats community argue over Piątek the last 24 hours has been rather intriguing. I’m still not sold on him, but at 24 years old, a change of scenery might be a good move. Still, if Piątek becomes the choice, talking Milan into a loan with the option to buy at the end is the preferred move instead of spending the cash up front.
Before all of you start screaming in the comments over this one, hear me out. Giroud is currently warming the bench at Chelsea. Tammy Abraham is the clear first choice and Michy Batshuyai is the backup to the young English international. Giroud is there to basically look handsome and occasionally go run around for a little bit. He has just 282 minutes this season and probably isn’t thrilled about it. I still think there’s something left in the tank for the French striker and this move makes sense. Also, it would be worth it to watch the reactions of Arsenal fans online. He also has absolutely magnificent hair and a glorious beard. That has to count for something, right?
Clearly, there are options for Tottenham. Mourinho will absolutely try at least one of the first three options in the next two matches while Levy decides if he can dig up some loose change in his couch. Of the three transfers, Giroud is probably the least likely but it never hurts to ask, especially if the player isn’t doing anything other than collecting a paycheck. Piątek is a wild card because of his slump, but if Milan can be talked into a loan until the end of the season, I definitely wouldn’t hate it. Mertens, meanwhile, I would love to see at Spurs. Yes, he’s 32 but he’s durable and productive. Also, we threw £15m at Swansea City for Fernando Llorente so it’s not outlandish to think we’d do it again, especially in the middle of an injury crisis. It’s also possible I’ve overlooked a player that could be available so feel free to toss in your ideas in the comments.
Ultimately, we are just passengers on this roller coaster and Daniel Levy is the one at the helm. It’s his choice, but we should have an idea sooner rather than later.