Quick scribbling on Clint’s move to Spurs before the weekend. Hardly proofread.
A Twitter-refreshing-exhausted US fan base exhaled in relief Friday as the United States chief attacking export, Clint Dempsey, settled in down the street at White Hart Lane.
Dempsey–though to be headed for much of the window to Liverpool–joins a smartly-operated team that is at an inflection point in its trajectory to being a yearly Champion’s League contender.
With former manager Harry Rednapp in charge, the Spurs hustled themselves to a Champion’s League birth two years ago, only to see their run to Europe’s top tournament and standing in the domestic league suffer under the weight of both competitions without the requisite amount of depth.
With Rednapp jettisoned in the offseason and Chelsea Scarlet Letter A, V & B, Andre Villas Boas, the Spurs continue their lofty aspirations, but are currently undergoing some early season struggles to integrate into AVB’s system.
Now the question where is where does a Texan fit into the plan.
The best way to review the Spurs is a team that plays a 4-3-3, but whose compositional components really deploy more in a 4-2-3-1.
(Note: In the diagram above, on the backline, Kaboul is out for Spurs currently and Michael Dawson, William Gallas and new recruit Jan Vertonghen will all bear central defense responsibilities).
The reps at the spear of the formation will likely go to former Arsenal and Manchester City man Emanuel Adebayor, a gifted and start target forward who has increasingly improved his distribution game as he enters the later stages of his career. He’s backed by and/or will occasionally play with Jermaine Defoe up top.
Next comes Dempsey’s “line” which consists of an oleo of Clint, Gareth Bale, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Aaron Lennon as a likely rotation of four players across three positions. The player roles here will be backed up by David Bentley (yes, he’s back) on the right. Young attacking part Danny Rose has been loaned out to Sunderland.
Behind the band of attackers are two midfield engines where likely starters will be another Fulham man inbound, Moussa Dembele, inhabiting Luka Modric’s carriage role (though playing it differently) and Sandro playing AVB’s “Busquets” role. Both Scott Parker and Jake Livermore will rotate into these roles and occasionally Dembele will push up into the attacking line.
Best bet on Dempsey? He’ll play centrally in a role similar to the one that Rafael Van Der Vaart inhabited. Occasionally, he’ll play any number of other positions, from up top in a target role (actually the role he excelled most in last year at Fulham) to cutting in from the left wing and running off the right hash as well.
Dempsey should see at least 66% of the snaps on the season. You don’t buy a 29-year-old player in the prime of his career to change his playing frequency and use as a super sub.
The following schematics show other deployments where Deuce may get some playing time.
Other questions the Spurs will need to answer will be:
• How often will they play two up top and how many starting reps they get Defoe?
• What is Scott Parker’s role on the team now. Is he a perennial starter still?
• With Jermaine Jenas not finding a new home where will he go? Similarly, what of the future of Tom Huddlestone?