Earlier this week, Spurs fans like myself received more good news on the transfer front, something we’re not necessarily accustomed to in these early stages of the window. Vincent Janssen, AZ Alkmaar and Dutch Eredivisie top scorer from the 2015-2016 campaign, has signed for the club on a four year deal that keeps him with us until 2020.
The move had been spoken about in the press for several weeks, and had that oh-so-familiar on and off feeling as the clubs negotiated the fee. But the player was clearly keen, and eventually the deal that brought Janssen to White Hart Lane was struck.
Much like the earlier signing of Southampton midfielder Victor Wanyama, Janssen’s July move represents a departure from the typical late drama of Spurs’ past transfer windows. Barely halfway into the summer, they’ve now brought in quality depth signings in two key positions, with more players looking likely to come in before the season kicks off in August. The importance of players like Wanyama and Janssen getting a full preseason in with their new teammates and manager cannot be overstated, especially given the rigorous fitness standards set out by Pochettino and his training staff.
So what does Janssen bring to Spurs? Well, the first and most obvious benefit to his arrival is that he provides like-for-like cover for Harry Kane up front. Kane is brilliant, and has had two great seasons so far (even if he cooled off a bit this year), but he needs some rest every now and then. With Champions League football on the docket for next season, as well as the annual League and F.A. cups, the need for depth up front was apparent.
On to Janssen’s footballing talents, the Dutchman boasts three key strengths that likely convinced the club to go for him. He’s young, which means he’s got plenty of potential and room to develop; he’s fit, which means he can more easily adapt to Pochettino’s high energy style; and he’s a fox in the box like Kane, which means he’s got the ability to score with either foot or his head anywhere inside the penalty area. A problem with Kane’s backup last season, the often-injured Clinton Njie, is that the speedy youngster played more like a winger than a central striker. The same can be said of Heung-Min Son and Nacer Chadli, also wingers who were often asked to deputize for Kane. With Janssen, there’s now a true centre-forward available, which frees up the aforementioned players to provide depth in their actual positions.
All in all, Janssen’s move brings quality competition to the striker position for the first time in years, and If he bags even half as many goals in his first season at Spurs as he did last season in Holland, most fans will call the move a great success. With about a month and a half left in the transfer window, the question on most fans’ minds now will be what players might follow the Dutchman in joining Pochettino’s increasingly solid-looking squad.