How can Steven Bergwijn help Tottenham Hotspur?
Image: Bluejam, CC BY-SA 4.0
After living life on the brink of success for five years, it all fell apart this term for Mauricio Pochettino and Tottenham Hotspur. Desperate fans believed Jose Mourinho's appointment would be the necessary catalyst. Then Harry Kane went down for the season and Christian Eriksen left for Internazionale.
Spurs last won the First Division in 1960/61. Their most recent cup triumph came in 2008 when they beat Chelsea for the League Cup. Mourinho wasn't the Blues manager at the time but, in the interim, the Portuguese did win 13 trophies. He'd never taken over a club in midseason prior to his appointment in North London, however.
That said, Jose made immediate progress in his new challenge. Ironically, his target is Chelsea. Tottenham are seven points behind the Blues entering their clash with Manchester City today. Kane's injury and Eriksen's departure leave him a little light for a battle against long-time nemesis Pep Guardiola. He's hoping new acquisition Steven Bergwijn can help.
The question? In an age where the biggest clubs are buying and selling players for outrageous amounts--think Atletico Madrid doling out €126 million for Joao Felix this summer then selling Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona to cover all but €6 million of their outlay--can Tottenham hit the jackpot with a player whose price tag is a fraction of those amounts?
Every available striker and their uncle was linked with the club in January. Edinson Cavani stayed at Paris Saint-Germain. Oliver Giroud couldn't escape Stamford Bridge. Krzysztof Piatek opted for Hertha Berlin. Three days before the window closed, the Lilywhites confirmed they'd landed the somewhat lesser-known Bergwijn from PSV Eindhoven for a reported £25 million, with the frontman set to commit his future to the club until 2025.
A PSV academy product, the 22-year-old stepped ably into the first-team void left by Hirving Lozano and Luuk de Jong's departures. The Dutchman's versatility surely played a key part in Tottenham's purchase. Bergwijn can play out wide, in front of goal or in the No.10 slot. In 29 appearances this term with PSV, including Champions and Europa League qualifying, the youngster contributed six goals and 13 assists, five and ten in the Eredivisie [Transfermarkt]. He contributed directly to a goal every 124 minutes on average and promises to go a long way towards restocking the shelf that held Eriksen's 66 Premier League assists.
At 5'10, 172lbs, he's strong on the ball, demonstrating the balance and close control you'd expect from a player built lower to the ground, like Sergio Aguero. He also possesses a turn of pace reminiscent of Adama Traore. His speed serves him best on the flanks. When you factor in his 51.2% success rate when attempting dribbles, the new Spur becomes a fearsome prospect.
Not every Eredivisie star adapts to the Premier League's intensity and physicality. Memphis Depay and one-time Tottenham player, Vincent Jannsen struggled. Others, such as Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Christian Eriksen, etched their names in history. Bergwijn jumps into the deep end against Manchester City. Will his debut be any indication of which group he'll join?