Harry Kane's Replacement: Academy or Transfer?
Tottenham Hotspur have a supremely tight budget. Nevertheless, they continue to fight for titles and progress. Under Pochettino, much of this progress has been achieved through the talismanic, goalscoring might of Harry Kane. Every season there is a period where Kane is injured, or fatigued. Furthermore, there is a future beyond Kane; a future where there isn’t a consist 20-plus-goals-a-season hitman at the club. There are two options; to invest in the youth players at the club, or to buy in new talent via the transfer market.
Indeed, Kane’s success story is entirely down to the fact that Spurs chose to give this youngster a chance. With the likes of Roberto Soldado proving to be a flop, Kane emerged as what seemed like a temporary stop-gap at the time. However, since his first few cameos, the young star suddenly exploded into stardom and has never looked back since. There is an argument that this could happen again; Spurs just need to give more game time to their young strikers.
For example, Troy Parrott is an exciting young player. He has just been selected to represent Ireland under-21’s for a European Championship qualifier. Here is such a prodigious young talent that at 16 years old is already being selected to play in the highest youth levels. There is definitely a future for Parrott in the Premier League, and these next few formative years will decide what kind of player he becomes. Like Kane, he may well have to go out on loan to develop his skills. But, it is important that Spurs don’t just keep this player out on loan. After all, Kane was so close to being kept on a permanent ‘loan loop’ except that his self-determination forced his manager to give him chances in the first team. Not all players will work this hard to make it work at their club. Parrott is a special talent though and must be nurtured closely and given all the opportunities to take his game to the next level.
On the other side of the argument, Tottenham could do with splashing the cash on some new talent. There are other areas of the squad they also need to strengthen. This includes at fullback and parts of the midfield too. In choosing to bring in talent, there are two ways the club could go about this.
Firstly, they could bring in some young and promising talent. In the past Spurs have tried this; Vincent Janssen flopped despite lighting up the Eredivisie. It is always a risk to transplant a successful youngster to a foreign league and its accompanying culture. However, it is usually cheaper than bringing in an already established name.
Indeed, the second option would be to bring in a recognised name. For example, this could be bringing Gareth Bale back to the club. By spending a large sum of money (and breaking the wage structure in the process), Spurs could secure some quality goalscoring talent that may even provide competition rather than just backup for Kane. This is the ideal move in the short term and would instantly create a more experienced and deeper squad.
Overall, Tottenham have failed to sign anyone in the past two windows. Surely this cannot last for yet another window? It would be a big boost to the squad if Levy could secure a striker that Pochettino favours. However, if such finances are still being squirreled away, Spurs will have to go down the route of investing in their academy players. This isn’t a hopeless tactic; there are top talents in early development at the club. However, this would be another long-term strategy. At the moment the club has already been through a lengthy ‘project’. Making a big name signing to give Kane back-up and moreover, competition, would help to bolster the club’s ever fleeting grasps at seizing hold of some silverware.