It was a case of anyone but Roberto Soldado when Tottenham took on West Ham in their Premier League opener, with the former Valencia goal machine left to kick his heels on the bench while his side ground out a 1-0 win courtesy of debutant defender Eric Dier’s late effort.
The some-time Spain international clearly doesn’t fit into new coach Mauricio Pochettino’s best laid plans, and Soldado was made to sit through the indignity of not one, but two oft-derided strikers – in Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane – taking his place up front.
There seems no way back at Spurs for the 29-year-old, who has been linked with Atletico Madrid and reportedly offered to Roma, but whispers regarding a renewed Spurs move for Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez are unlikely to brighten up his summer nonetheless.
Chicharito ran around Swansea’s half for 45 minutes to no effect in Louis van Gaal’s first competitive match in charge of the Red Devils, before being taken off at the break for Nani, who has since returned to first club Sporting Lisbon on loan as part United’s Marcos Rojo deal.
Hernandez will be only too aware that he faces a fight to merely make Van Gaal’s bench when Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck return to full fitness, but the third-generation Mexico international might find life under Pochettino more to his liking.
Spurs are devoid of pace through the middle, with Adebayor the quickest of a slow bunch that includes committed joggers Soldado, Kane and Christian Eriksen.
Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend provide plenty of running from the flanks, but neither can operate effectively in the wide-forward position taken up by Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez under Pochettino last term.
The England newboy scored 15 Premier League goals and laid on three assists in 33 games, before being cruelly ruled out of the World Cup with a nasty knee injury picked up against Manchester City.
Pochettino needs a quick forward – not a winger – to fill that role at Spurs, with either Adebayor or Kane spearheading the attack and one from White Hart Lane’s painfully overstocked ranks of seemingly average widemen on the other side.
Whether or not the Argentine can bring in the round pegs he needs to square Spurs’ circle by the start of September, the north Londoners currently look a poor price at 7/2 to finish in the top four for only the third time in 23 Premier League seasons, with the 9/1 about Everton completing said feat currently holding much greater appeal.
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