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Janssen display leaves Spurs with striking dilemma

Tuesday 10th January 2017
For many Spurs fans, the woeful display from Vincent Janssen against Aston Villa was as predictable as the wholesale team changes that preceded it. Just as inevitable was the improvement in the side when the Dutchman was replaced by Dele Alli on the hour mark, a switch that directly led to the first goal in what was eventually a comfortable 2-0 victory.

The stats bear out the perception: Janssen has now delivered more shots on goal from open play without finding the target than any other Premier League player – 33 in total. We know he is deadly from 12 yards with three strikes and a 100% record from the penalty spot but as Spurs go into 2017 with challenges on three fronts, there are familiar concerns for supporters.

Back up

The end of 2015's summer transfer window saw Spurs with no effective back up to striker Harry Kane. The club could list as many front men on their official website as possible but no-one was fooled. Son Heung-Min, capable goal threat from midfield as he is, was no centre-forward.

Fortunately, Kane stayed injury free for what was ultimately a strong campaign but the issue had to be addressed at the start of 2016/17 and Tottenham moved for Janssen – a man with 27 goals from 34 for AZ and an overall ratio in Dutch football at more than a strike every other game.

Injury did bring down Kane during the win against Sunderland, so step forward the Dutchman who now has three goals from 23 Tottenham appearances. Admittedly, a fair proportion of those are from the bench but Janssen's attributes, as assessed by former players such as Gary Lineker and Ruud Gullit are less than encouraging.

Lineker compared the Dutchman to a former Spurs disaster in Roberto Soldado while the player's compatriot Gullit tore Janssen apart back in September following his display against Middlesbrough, pointing out a lack of positional awareness.

Quiet time

After some high profile panic buys in previous seasons, this is set to be a quiet window for Spurs who are unlikely to make any rash decisions over Vincent Janssen's future. In the immediate aftermath of that Villa performance, manager Mauricio Pochettino was also quick to defend his player, insisting that he would push and guide him until he justified his £17m transfer fee.

Tottenham will also argue that they are hardly short of attacking threats, despite a reliance on Kane as their sole striker. A healthy return of 39 goals from 20 league matches to date includes returns of ten from Dele Alli and a further six from Son Heung-Min so at present, there is no lack of scoring support.

Don't expect any deals this month but eventually, Spurs will have to address their striking issues and lack of depth behind the first choice. For manager Pochettino, the jury may just about be out on Vincent Janssen but Spurs fans will have already seen that comparison with Soldado and will be wondering just what £17m is able to secure in today's market.
Matt Harris
Journalist with 25 years experience of covering football around the world. Provided teletext updates on the very first day of the Premiership. Has multiple losing bets on Spurs to win the Premier League behind him but is getting closer...

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