Vincent Janssen is closing in on a move to join Tottenham, after AZ Alkmaar agreed to let him travel to London for talks with the North London club. They are desperate to bring in cover for Harry Kane, and add a different attacking option to the squad. They have been linked with higher profile forwards, but a move for Janssen represents value for money, while the Dutchman is unlikely to demand a starting berth to begin with. The fee wanted by his current club is believed to be around £12m, which could turn out to be a bargain says Jake Jackman.
The striker has had a meteoric rise to the very top of the Dutch game. He was the top scorer in the Eredivisie during his first season in the Dutch top flight. This led to his first Dutch call up and he has continued to perform at that level, scoring three times in five caps. It is his form for Holland that will have led to this transfer, as he has showed he can compete with the very best. He was arguably the best player on the pitch at Wembley as the Netherlands managed to beat England, scoring a penalty and assisting the winning goal.
Janssen is a unique centre forward in that he is strong and well built, allowing him to play the target man role well. His hold up play is excellent, but he also possesses an impressive passing range, an attribute we come to expect of any Dutch player. He is also quick, with his movement able to stretch defences. The striker is obviously a good finisher, as shown by his tally of 27 league goals in the Eredivisie this season.
He is lethal around the 18-yard box, and manages to find a way to get a shot away even in the most improbable situations. Spurs fans can also expect to see Janssen’s impressive link up play in the final third. He often plays intricate flicks and backheels to get his team-mates on the ball. Although he is born to score goals, he also has good vision in the final third and does look to gain assists as well as goals.
The Dutch forward is mentally strong and has stepped up every time a question is asked of him. He was signed as a back-up forward for AZ at the beginning of the season, but the departure of Aron Jóhannsson thrust him into the starting eleven. He initially struggled and didn’t score for several weeks. His confidence remained though and his self-belief carried him through a rough period as he adjusted to the Dutch top flight. That will be key again as he moves to England.
In terms of his primary tactical plan, Janssen is the perfect fit for Mauricio Pochettino. He is as similar to Harry Kane as they come, although Janssen is more of a number nine, while Kane does play a withdrawn role at times. The AZ Alkmaar forward will be able to come into the team and not alter the tactics hugely and I think that is a major reason he is joining Tottenham. It is a risk to buy a player off the back of just one top flight season, but his international performances show he can compete at a higher level.
This is a great signing for Spurs, and he perfectly fits the criteria that Pochettino will have wanted for a second choice striker. He is young, fits in well to his tactical plan and he won’t complain about being used mainly as a rotational option. However, he is hungry and the Dutch international has been successful at every level he has played at. He will believe in his own abilities and will try to break into the first team. You wouldn’t back against him either given how quickly he has emerged as the long term striking option for Oranje.
For Janssen personally, I think that another season in the Eredivisie would have been beneficial to develop further away from a pressured environment. However, it is difficult to turn down a move to the Premier League and Tottenham is a good club to join at the moment. They are on the up and have an exciting manager, who gives young players a chance. Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane have all showed that if you perform when given a chance, it is possible to break into the first team at White Hart Lane. Janssen will believe he can do that too and he could force Pochettino to devise an alternative tactic that could facilitate two strikers. The most important thing is for the Tottenham staff and fans to be patient with him as he settles in England. Memphis Depay wasn’t afforded that luxury and has been labelled a flop as a result. If he gets time, Janssen will thrive in England.
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