Tottenham are in trouble. Big trouble. Harry Kane is set to be out for around two months after damaging ankle ligaments in the recent 1-0 loss to Manchester United, which will rule him out of some massive games for the north London side desperate for a bit of silverware.
The England international looks likely to miss both legs of Spurs’ Champions League last 16 tie against Borussia Dortmund, the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea, and even the final if they can hold on to their 1-0 aggregate lead.
Additionally, the World Cup Golden Boot winner will also miss the FA Cup fourth round tie against Crystal Palace, which pretty much rules him out of the north London side’s biggest games as their season enters crunch time.
For Spurs to keep their chances of silverware alive, they must react to this problem, so we have delved into what Mauricio Pochettino can do to ease this humongous loss…
Stop beating around the bush and sign a top quality striker
Tottenham have tempted fate by being so heavily reliant on their star man, even after he played such a physically demanding role at the World Cup last summer with little rest before the start of the season – he was always going to suffer some sort of burnout given their dependence on him.
Injury aside for a moment, and Spurs need a top quality challenger for Kane even when the 20-goal striker is fit and firing if they are to seriously challenge for silverware. Perhaps it would be worth making a cheeky bid for West Ham’s want-away forward Marko Arnautovic, who has had his head turned by a £35m bid from the Chinese Super League.
Formation change – Dele Alli as a false nine
One way Pochettino can react to this crisis is to rejig his preferred 4-1-2-1-2 formation into a more traditional 4-3-3 system, with Alli acting as a false nine. The former MK Dons man is a natural at drifting in behind defences and finishing with aplomb, but he is equally adept at coming short and linking the midfield with the attack.
It is worth noting that Heung-min Son is away on international duty, so this system would be best with Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela on the wings.
Which Man Utd star got fed by Salt Bae this week? Check out the video below to find out…
Make a swift move for want-away Sunderland star Josh Maja
He may not come anywhere near to the world-class talents of Kane, but in Sunderland’s Josh Maja, there is a promising forward who Pochettino could mould into a brilliant attacker – and one who can be a short-term fix to this huge issue as well as a long-term backup option.
The 20-year-old has 14 League One goals to his name this season and has recently rejected the offer of a new contract with the Black Cats, meaning that the club will have to sell him this month or risk losing him on a free in the summer. It is definitely worth testing the Wearsiders’ resolve with a cheeky bid – it’s worth remembering that Alli was bought straight from the same division.
Last chance for Fernando Llorente or Vincent Janssen?
Between both Janssen and Llorente, just two starts have been made this season; both by the latter. In fairness to Llorente, his two starts have yielded four goals, including a hat-trick against Tranmere, which suggests that he is still interested in keeping his Tottenham career alive.
In Janssen’s case, Pochettino poured cold water on any chance of the Dutchman reigniting his career in north London, bluntly telling Football.London: “No, he is not in my plans,” when asked if the 24-year-old may feature more following Kane’s injury.
All down to Llorente, then?
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