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Friday, April 19, 2024

Spurs lining up massive Toney upgrade in bid for £100m “unicorn”

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Tottenham Hotspur’s 1-1 draw against West Ham United on Tuesday evening presented Ange Postecoglou with a quandary heading into the final stretch of the campaign: his side has lost that stunning attacking verve that charged the early-season success. Still fifth in the Premier League and currently holding a nine-point buffer over Manchester United below, Tottenham know that the real goal is pipping Aston Villa to that fourth-place spot and confirming a place in next season’s Champions League. Europe’s elite club competition attracts the biggest names and offers a chance to win the biggest prize, and should Spurs succeed in securing a place, they would take a big step in their pursuit of a new centre-forward. Spurs’ lining up new striker While Tottenham have been linked with a wealth of names for the front of the ship following Harry Kane’s sale to Bayern Munich last summer, the latest rumour might be the most exciting yet. According to The Sun, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is prepared to go head-to-head with London rivals Arsenal for Newcastle United star Alexander Isak this summer, with the Swede touted at £100m by his outfit. Isak is a treasure in Tyneside but the Magpies might be forced to give up their glinted silver to comply with financial fair play rules, especially if they fail to qualify for Europe – United are currently eighth, one point behind the Hammers. Why Spurs are interested in Alexander Isak Newcastle made Isak their club-record signing in August 2022 after making remarkable progress under Eddie Howe’s stewardship, welcoming the striker from Real Sociedad for £63m. The 24-year-old showed plenty of promise throughout his maiden campaign in England but found injuries inhibited him from hitting full bloom. Still, he scored ten goals and added two assists from just 17 starting appearances in the Premier League last season. Standing at 6 foot 3, Isak is a rangy and athletic centre-forward with a fleet-footedness that sets him apart from the lion’s share of strikers throughout Europe. He has been hailed for his “fearless” performances at St. James’ Park by The Times’ Henry Winter. This season, as per Sofascore, Isak has posted 15 goals from just 19 starts in the English top flight, 13 of which have come with his deadly right foot. If the Lilywhites crave a prolific new frontman to spearhead a promising new era, on the market (if rather expensive), then look no further. Isak is the man Tottenham must invest resources into signing, over the likes of Ivan Toney, brilliant as he may be. How Isak compares to Ivan Toney The gnawing inconsistency that has marred many interminable silverware-pursuing seasons really feels like it might come to an end under Postecoglou’s leadership, with the recruitment thus far landing the right stars to flavour the brewing success. Toney is a fine centre-forward, having scored 24 goals and provided five assists from 44 Premier League matches since the start of last season, even praised for his dynamic qualities by Three Lions teammate Declan Rice, who said he’s “like Harry Kane.” Tottenham are said to be “lurking in the background” for the 28-year-old by transfer reporter Dean Jones, though Manchester United and West Ham United appear to be current frontrunners. Toney is clinical and helps his teammates immensely through his creativity, sharp intelligence and positive movements, but Isak arguably offers a better skill set as a pure striker, a natural finisher. Premier League 23/24: Top Scorers # Player Apps Goals Goals per 90 1. Erling Haaland 24 18 0.80 2. Mohamed Salah 23 16 0.75 2. Ollie Watkins 30 16 0.55 2. Dominic Solanke 30 16 0.54 5. Alexander Isak 22 15 0.85 5. Heung-min Son 27 15 0.60 5. Jarrod Bowen 30 15 0.50 68. Ivan Toney 11 4 0.36 Stats via Premier League As the table shows above, Isak is actually performing at the most clinical rate of any top goalscorer in the Premier League this season, bagging at a superior rate even to top dogs Erling Haaland and Mohamed Salah. Moreover, when taking his seasonal tally across all competitions into consideration – 19 goals from 32 matches – it can be observed that Isak has even outscored Heung-min Son this term, having matched his 15 Premier League goals at a superior rate. Son has not scored outside the top flight in 2023/24. It’s for this reason, the matter of Isak’s staggering prolificness, Tottenham have been credited with an interest in Feyenoord striker Santiago Gimenez in recent months, with a report from Caught Offside in March even going as far as to claim that the Mexican is Postecoglou’s top target. That’s not to say that Isak isn’t a high-class, complete centre-forward, with the one-time Borussia Dortmund youngster ranking among the top 13% of forwards across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for pass completion and progressive carries, the top 12% for progressive passes and the top 10% for successful take-ons per 90, as per FBref. Isak has also been described as a “unicorn for his mixture of size & technical ability” by reporter Kev Lawson, speaking of the elite-level attributes that have already earned him much individual success on Tyneside. Related Spurs now fighting Brighton to sign £2.7m South American talent The north Londoners are hoping to beat Brighton at their own game. Aged 24, Isak is likely to be a major player at Europe’s forefront for years to come and while Toney is a proven star in the Premier League, he is several years Isak’s senior and arguably doesn’t offer the same progressive, penetrative traits, albeit more creative and superior in his link-up play. Still, Tottenham have creativity in abundance through Son, James Maddison, Dejan Kulusevski and co, and Isak might just be the final piece of the puzzle to take Tottenham to another level next season.

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