After spending the entirety of 2012/13 striker-light and relying on Gareth Bale to cover the deficit, Tottenham have finally found some competition for Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Their year-long search seemed to begin and end with Brazilian international Leandro Damiao, rendering it something of a surprise that the goalsmith they have ended up with – subject to a medical – is Valencia’s Roberto Soldado.
The 28-year-old, a Spain squad regular but less frequent cap accumulator, has spent three highly successful years at the Mestalla after proving his mettle at Getafe and has scored 16 or more league goals in his past four campaigns.
In terms of strike rate and willingness to join a club not currently in the Champions League – and 11/5 to fix that with a top-four finish – Spurs couldn’t have landed a better forward.
However, it is a departure from prior policy to sign a record cheque for £26m to secure a player with questionable resale value. It perhaps offers the first indication that they are resigned to losing Gareth Bale for a world record fee, so can afford some exuberance. Bale is 2/7 to join Real Madrid.
Last season was the former Real Madrid employee’s most impressive yet and the 24 league goals that he delivered for a dwindling Valencia side would have put him second in the Premier League’s 2012/13 scoring charts.
It isn’t a perfect comparison as La Liga games last term averaged 2.87 goals to the Premier League’s 2.8 but it earned him a spot in Spain’s Confederations Cup squad having missed Euro 2012, and sees him rated at 16/1 to be top Premier League marksman.
Spurs won’t be able to relax once the deal is completed as there are still issues to resolve at centre-back and, more scarily, in potentially replacing Bale, though it certainly leaves the 8/1 top London club hopefuls with one less headache.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.