Season Preview: Tottenham

Nik Argiropoulos
The maiden voyage of 'The Week Ahead' on with some input from a statistical modeling expert as a bonus to lead off the season

The Week Ahead - Season Opener

The maiden voyage of 'The Week Ahead' on with some input from a statistical modeling expert as a bonus to lead off the season

Summer Ins & Outs:
IN: Paulinho (£17m, Corinthians), Nacer Chadli (£7m, FC Twente), Roberto Soldado (£25m, Valencia).
OUT: Jack Barthram, David Bentley, William Gallas, Jack Munns, Jake Nicholson (released), Massimo Luongo, Grant Hall, Ryan Mason (loan, Swindon), John Bostock (free, Royal Antwerp), Tomislav Gomelt (loan, Royal Antwerp), Adam Smith (loan, Derby), Bongani Khumalo (loan, Doncaster), Steven Caulker (£8m, Cardiff City), Clint Dempsey (£6m, Seattle Sounders)

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What To Expect From 2013/14:
A lot will depend on Gareth Bale, and whether he completes his highly-rumoured move to Real Madrid, but even if the Welsh winger does leave, Tottenham are in a strong position after some big summer spending. Many fringe players have left and others could soon be on their way soon (namely Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker) to trim down a bloated squad, and in Paulinho and Roberto Soldado, manager Andre Villas-Boas has been granted two high quality additions.

Soldado could prove a vital cog in the machine, with Spurs sorely lacking a 20-goal-a-season striker for a number of years and having been let down by Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor in the last campaign. Paulinho will form part of a formidable midfield alongside Sandro and Moussa Dembele, while another new signing, Nacer Chadli, will provide an extra option on the wings. Sandro and Younes Kaboul are in training after long term injuries, France midfielder Etienne Capoue is on the verge of a move to White Hart Lane and Spurs are rumoured to be looking for a new left back and central defender to replace Benoit Assou-Ekotto and the departed Steven Caulker respectively.

Overall the playing squad is looking strong and AVB will be hoping it will allow the club to go one better than the 5th place achieved last season. But again, a lot will depend on Bale's future.

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Player To Watch:
Roberto Soldado - The Spain international striker comes with a big reputation, having scored the third highest number of goals in La Liga over the past three seasons (behind a certain Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo), including 24 for Valencia in 2012/13. Soldado's career record of better than a goal every two games proves he has finishing ability, while his intelligent movement, strength and close control should prove vital attributes to allow him to adapt to the Premier League quickly. Expect 15+ goals and a strong fantasy showing this season.

As a Spurs fan myself I am rather excited about the coming season given the new arrivals at White Hart Lane and if Gareth Bale stays then I think challenging for 3rd place is a realistic target, with Manchester United finding it tough in their first season without Sir Alex. If Bale leaves then it's likely to be another scrap for 4th with Arsenal, unless the transfer fee was invested in a world class replacement - easier said than done with only two weeks of the transfer window remaining.

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