Roberto Soldado must rediscover his goal-scoring form before it’s too late for Spurs’ top-four bid.
The Spanish striker, a $40 Million summer signing from Valencia, was expected to take the Premier League by storm and compensate for the loss of Gareth Bale’s goals after the Welshman moved to Real Madrid.
But the reality has proved to be very different so far. The 28-year old has scored just 5 five league goals this season, all but one coming from the penalty spot, and he seems to have lost all the confidence that made him one of the most lethal strikers of Spain’ s La Liga in previous years.
As a result, Spurs’ attack has suffered and the Lilywhites face an uphill battle in securing a spot in Europe’s premier club competition next season. Tottenham fans look in envy at Manchester City, where another striker who came from Spain last summer, Alvaro Negredo, has proved to be a big success with 23 goals to his name so far in all competitions.
Tottenham have certainly put their trust in him. Soldado has played 20 PL games this season, and he has not been dropped, even when Emmanuel Adebayor made a goal-scoring return to the fold after Tim Sherwood replaced Andre Villas-Boas as manager last December. On the contrary, the new boss paired him with the Togolese striker in an attacking formation, persisted with him and has always maintained that Soldado will come good in the end.
Not many accuse Soldado for a lack of effort. His willingness to take penalties after all, shows that he’s not one who shies away from responsibility. Sherwood thinks it’s only a matter of time before he returns to the goals. But time is something that Spurs can ill afford right now, with just 14 matches remaining in the battle for fourth place. It’ s right for Sherwood to be backing him, as it would be stupid to write off a $40m striker with a proven record in one of Europe’s top leagues. But in the same time, he must ensure that Soldado gets good service from the midfield, something that has proved to be a problem so far.
Whatever the reasons for Soldado’s mediocre performances so far, the player and manager must address them sooner rather than later. Without the Spaniard’s goals, Spurs cannot simply have realistic aspirations of playing Champions League football next season.