Is Vincent Janssen Any Good?

Is Vincent Janssen any good? Although he’s not been in the news this close season, the answer has a huge bearing on Kyle Walker’s transfer from Spurs to Manchester City.

 

Kyle Walker is the most expensive English player ever. Not a sentence I ever thought I would write on Tottenham On My Mind. Silly money. End of days. Football’s gone up the Khyber. Except to City, he is worth £50m because that’s what they paid for him. Spurs priced him right. Price determined by supply and demand, one of the basic laws of economics.

 

Yesterday’s Mail calls it the moment the Premier League lost its mind. Not so. If Pep reckons Walker can make the difference, and his system makes the most of full-backs, City will get that money back over the life of his contract from the PL, the Champions League, TV, worldwide merchandising and following United’s example, even noodle sponsorship. I firmly subscribe to the view that there’s nothing new under the sun, and I wonder how Walker’s fee compares with big transfers in the past as a percentage of a club’s annual income. To use an anachronism in this post-modern world, City have simply backed their manager.

 

How much Walker is truly worth to Tottenham, however, can be measured only in terms of what his fee will buy us. Last season £50m covered half a Spurs team, of internationals at that. Now, it equals one Gylfi Sigurdssson, a Ross Barkley plus a third choice goalkeeper or two-thirds of a Lukaku. Forget pounds shillings and pence, think of it more as a new currency, a Premier League Bitcoin, that bears little relation to what preceded it. Such and such isn’t worth the money or making adverse comparisons with the price of star players in the recent past – PremCoin renders all these conversations redundant. TV money plus a few billionaire owners plus the lure of future riches creates inflation to rival that of the Weimar Republic, the difference being that rather than City paying for Walker with wheelbarrows of hastily printed notes, cash plus income plus credit plus turnover provides substance to the deal.

 

The past is so skewed, someone is probably even willing to buy Moussa Sissoko. However, by the time the season begins, we may be talking less about silly money and more about a transfer crisis, because a Kyle Walker of this new PremCoin could turn out to be of scant value.

 

Which is where Vinny comes in. It’s imperative Spurs have a decent player up front to allow Kane to rest his weary limbs. Decent as in high quality, because we aspire to be as good as any side in the league and to mount an effective challenge in Europe. ‘Back-up striker’ gives the wrong impression – they will not be first choice but they’ve got to be good. In truth Spurs need three to cover for injuries but it’s likely Son will fill that role should the need arise.

 

These players are in short supply, so if Pochettino doesn’t rate Janssen then that £50m could disappear faster than Theresa May at a public meeting. We need players in other positions too. The same argument can be made in respect of Kevin Wimmer who also looks disposable. Having capably filled in the previous season for an injured Vertonghen, he barely featured last term, a sign that the manager no longer rates him, yet we need another centre back. A creative midfielder, and N’Jie and N’Koudou haven’t satisfied Pochettino’s urge for a wide man with serious pace. And there’s a vacancy for another right-back of course.

 

The search is made more difficult because there are few openings in the first team, with almost every current player capable of improving let alone keeping their place. Also, while salaries are being expressed in PremCoin, Levy maintains a ceiling of around £100k a week. At the time of writing Spurs are the only PL team not to have signed anyone and the wait may last a bit longer because any player of quality will have other offers, actual or potential, with wages higher than Tottenham are prepared to pay.

 

And we have a new stadium to pay for. Earlier this summer Levy stated that the ring-fenced transfer budget would not be affected by the building works because the finance is in place for the latter. That’s probably true, but Levy avoids the crucial question of just how much is available. We all know our transfer budget would be much higher without the new ground.

 

I’ll miss Kyle Walker and wish him the very best in the future. While England returned from Euro 2016 diminished as a team and as individuals, Walker and his full-back partner Rose were the exceptions. What followed was a golden period, Walker a man transformed, flying up and down the wing and confident in defence. His crossing could have been sharper but there were so many of them that after Eriksen, he made more goal-scoring opportunities in his time at the club than any other player.

 

Never blessed with great in-game intelligence, seasons came and went with Kyle wandering gormlessly in defence, oblivious apparently to much of what was going around him and periods where his mind was in another place entirely. Then came Pochettino. On the training pitch Walker was given time and clear expectations on the field of play. He became as good a full-back as anyone in Europe, essential to Pochettino’s evolving tactics and a testament to the manager’s coaching ability. If he can transform Walker, he can improve any player on the planet.

 

I’ll remember him most for his efforts when things weren’t going as well, for Spurs or for him. For the second halves at White Hart Lane when Tottenham needed a goal yet weren’t getting anywhere, when he fought off the tiredness that afflicted his team-mates and dragged himself up and down his wing, shuttle-runs that would exhaust a 400m runner in training, in order to become the spare man on the wing for a colleague desperate to find space and a pass. He returned to his defensive duties, back in formation, chest heaving and gasping for breath, then go again ever willing as the space appeared in front of him. He looked perplexed rather than confident, yet forced himself into action for the sake of the team. And I will always have a place in my memory for players with that attitude.

 

I am old-fashioned enough to be troubled by the sale of a top player to one of our main rivals. In the past, this would be another sign that Spurs lack ambition and that Levy was more interested in the bank balance than silverware. Superficially, selling to City smacks of desperation. In fact it reeks of reality. Leaving aside the rumours of a falling out, Pochettino believes he can use £50m elsewhere at a time when he knows his budget is nowhere near that of our rivals. He backs his ability to make players better, and if he can get Walker to defend then he can do the same with Trippier, and he won’t have to teach Tripps how to cross the ball.

 

‘Transfer budget’ is a complex concept these days with calculations including not merely the fee but also wages over the contract length and sell-on value. That said, Spurs have concluded deals for loanees Bentaleb, N’jie and Fazio, plus the sale of keeper Luke McGee, around £80 with Walker, and surely there’s a French club who hasn’t sussed Sissoko yet. Not all of that will probably be available to the manager but it’s a start.

 

Above all, Pochettino looks to have succeeded in his primary goal, keeping the rest of the squad intact. Our salary structure leaves us vulnerable but they seem to be content. As is the manager, our biggest asset.

 

 

27 thoughts on “Is Vincent Janssen Any Good?

  1. Greetings Alan. Wow, wasn’t expecting you to surface this early in the summer – nice surprise though.
    I am really sad to see Walker go, especially to a rival, and worry about the lack of pace in the team without him. Hopefully, the new right back will be rapid. Trippier crosses a ball better than Walker but we need a speed merchant to complement him.
    I love Janssen’s endeavour but doubt that he can cut it at the very top level. I’d give him another season though.
    Personally, I hope Barkley comes. He has all the raw materials and Poch is the perfect person to nurture him.
    I think those writing N’Koudou off are being unfair. He has had very little game time and has already shown flashes of what he can do. He is very young and I reckon Poch will give him another season to prove himself.
    COYS

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    • I usually take to the keyboard if there is something to write about, i.e. not transfer speculation, so that rules out most opportunities. I would keep Janssen, he will score goals but isn’t nearly as effective as Kane in terms of team play, but then not many strikers are.

      Regards, Alan

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  2. I think Janssen is very underrated at the moment, he holds the ball up very well and always looks to provide an out off the ball, hasn’t missed a shedload of sitters a la Bobby, confidence looks good, could improve a lot in his second season just like Son did, think we should give him at least another season apart from anything else whi is going to join us to play second fiddle to Harry?.

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  3. Alan, Good to see that we are emerging from our summertime hibernation (if that ain’t a contradiction…)

    I think your piece was cogent and well-argued. Walker had qualities but also several faults mainly attributable to cerebral flatulence. I still believe he was an honest journeyman. However… so much more than that. Levy has achieved a great price from Citeh.

    When I recall Cyril Knowles and even Stephen Carr, I believe they had more innate ability and produced more in terms of movement and delivery. Nuff said.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poch would have loved Cyril, he was a terrific player, lovely left foot. Hughton too, top class. I will always remember Walker with fondness, and expunge the vacant mindless episodes…although that cockup for Sherwood’s Spurs away at Chelsea won’t ever fade….

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  4. Welcome back Alan. I never thought I’d be so keen on a new season coming around , but last season’s finish even has cynical old me eagerly looking forward with optimism.
    Like I suspect most, I’m sorry to see Walker leave but he certainly wasn’t without fault, even during his best periods. There are other players we’d find it harder to replace, so if he’s the last of the recognised first choice 15/16 players to leave, I think we must come out ahead – as long as another 2 or 3 come in, or are promoted from within (Onomah looked exceptional for England in a similar role to Dembele for instance, I’d not seen him operate there previously so I hope he’ll be given more chances in the season ahead).
    I’ve rarely wanted anyone to succeed as much as Jansen though was like that with Soldado too and a fat lot of use that misplaced optimism turned out. Surely he does deserve another season though? From memory and willing to be corrected here, but Drogba, Henry & Larsen at Celtic all struggled initially, but turned out to be excellent.
    Cheers and grateful for the preseason bonus column

    DB

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Janssen has potential and I would keep him…but I said the same about Soldado. I wonder if Poch wants a player able to contribute more in others areas and to get that is willing to sacrifice a few goals. All players need time, the pressure of PL expectation and instant gratification blind many to this reality.
      Regards, Alan

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  5. Good to see you back and starting your pre- season training. No-one can argue with your take on the current situation and Anon. makes some good points. I recall that one of the surveys of Europe’s top teams at the end of last season (just over a month ago) placed us at #10 with the payroll, but we were way behind Liverpool in 9th place. Even though I keep hoping, like everyone, that Levy is going to stun us with a massive signing, I fear his past performance points to the opposite. He is clearing out the dead wood and building a nice little war-chest, especially with our new European funds and some of the funds we didn’t spend last season. Maybe Sissoko will bring in some more. However, I am dreading that he will make one or two ho-hum signings and leave us with that familiar feeling of anti-climax as we pick up the crumbs that fall from ‘bigger’ clubs. Unless we get that world class quality up front to share the load with Harry we are staring at another disappointing European showing, but hopefully Poch will have learned his Wembley lessons from last year.

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    • Good to hear from you David. I agree. Pay the money for quality because we are up with the English elite teams, let’s push on…
      But it won’t happen because of the wage structure. Think Coutinho is on 290k pw at Liverpool, we aren’t going to compete, never mind the fee…

      Regards, Alan

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  6. Thanks Alan, a summer bonus.

    A welcome dose of good horse sense regarding Spurs and the transfer merry go round. I’m sad to see Walker go, but I am also sure Poch and Mr Levy have a plan somewhere up one of their sleeves.

    Not easy to improve the first team on the fees and salaries we can go to, so battening down the present squad is vital, bar Walker of course.

    I like Janssen and will be happy if we keep faith for another season, if only to try and reap the benefits of the effort integrating him last season. Lacazette is, I’m told, the quality of back up we need (I don’t know if he’s as good as his rep as I haven’t seen him, or don’t remember having done so), but we won’t/can’t pay those wages for a squad player.

    I’m sure it’ll all come out in the wash.

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    • You’re very welcome. Lacazette as you say would not be first choice here, is not a starting international yet cost a bloody fortune. We have a great first team and may have to rely on them getting better. And staying injuryfree…

      Cheers Alan

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  7. Great to have you back so early Al. Excellent piece and sums up Walker perfectly – a big pity he’s off to Citeh, preferred to see him haring up the wings in Spain or Germany but when £50M is on offer, it doesn’t really matter where it comes from. Sitting on our hands whilst the top ‘6’ spend freely is a little disconcerting but I have faith in Poch to wait for the right one to come along. Barkley would be a good signing but as others have alluded, another striker and RB cover is needed – maybe Poch has someone(s) in the youth set-up ready to come in….. COYS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to be back. There’s quality bubbling under, I just fear they will have to learn very quickly in the first team and maybe a year too early for Walker Peters and Onomah. But they have to start somewhere….

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  8. Good to read your article, you have been missed. Yes , the money around now is ridiculous. Walker is a good player but towards the end of last season he wasn’t even first choice.
    I think we have a good and happy squad under Poch and I am sure we will see a couple of reinforcements before the season starts.

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  9. £45m cash for Walker can be spent on new players.
    OR
    The same money could give an average £30k per week rise to our top 15 players for 2 years. Or more for stars and less for squad players.

    I am not saying that’s HOW it will be spent. I think we’ll sign a couple of new players but mostly promote from within.

    My point is that Levy is usually s step ahead financially. Why spend millions on new players when we can invest in who we have and reduce the salary gap (via big bonuses for prizes if not badic wage).

    Just saying.

    Minesadouble
    tott.blog

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point. Kane and Lloris going up to the alleged 100k was a fairly recent up grade, Toby will have to join them, but I agree with you – move the top earners up together.

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    • I’m trying to forget it…one of the most desperate moments in recent history, summed up the hopelessness, the directionless Spurs of that period.

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  10. Hello Alan. I think Janssen may surprise us this season and do an excellent job (including scoring some vital goals). You’re right about Son’s excellent backing-up, so in a strange way buying another striker (unless it’s some experienced old name in the twilight of his career) could put a spanner in the works. But I really want to talk about Walker, who will be our biggest miss. Some of the comments replying to your post (‘honest journeyman’ and ‘my abiding memory of Walker…horrendous and inexplicable cross ball that threw the game etc..) made me quite sad. Also, I saw Cyril Knowles regularly, and Hughton and Carr, and I can say confidently that Walker (even allowing for differences in football eras) was better than them! Are some Spurs fans really that deluded in thinking the sale of Walker was a good thing on the cusp of a new (possibly 60+ games) season, many of which will be on a cramp inducing Wembley pitch? Do we really rejoice in Trippier being now our only 1st class right full/wing back? ..when we could have spread the workload beautifully with both of these England Internationals over the next 10 months. Will Walker-Peters step up quickly this season? Not to that level! Will these £20m ‘replacements’ we’re looking at bed in quickly and then be anything like the man they’re replacing? If they were, City would have surely gone for them ..not Walker at twice the price! The man was (is) world class (Pep knows it) and we’ve not only let him go to one of closest rivals, we’ve weakened ourselves considerably, especially if Trippier gets injured, suspended or simply knackered from shouldering all the responsibility on that vital right hand side! Yes, I know there was a problem between Walker and Poch which emerged towards the end of the season, and I know too that Walker’s form dipped. I also suspect he really DID want to leave and return north. But surely, with this squad ready to finally achieve great things, we could have convinced him to remain for ONE more season, give of his very best, and then sell him next summer. Walker isn’t stupid, and he would not have sulked. He would have known that if he returned to form it would have kept his value up, and then one of the big clubs up north would have gone in for him again next summer. Even selling him then for, say, £35m would have been a bonus to Tottenham after (hopefully) one more successful season for us. It would also have given us time to develop and/or buy now, as well as bed in, a replacement to provide solid competition for Trippier in the season following this one. Even this season, there could have been games where both Trippier and Walker may have been unavailable and where others could have been eased in, but either way there would have been good learning curves for those fringe players under Poch this season, with them studying closely how Walker & Trippier operate, while our squad was functioning (and needing to function) at close to 100%. Balance was always a problem with Spurs, along with finding those final piece(s) in the jigsaw etc., but the last two seasons showed we really have been just about there! Wembley has of course made it harder to fulfill our immediate destiny (winning a trophy or two) but with the sale of Walker, at this moment, we’ve made it harder for ourselves because of the effect on the squad’s balance, and losing a key piece (whether as a replacement or first choice right/wing back) in that difficult-to-complete jigsaw again! Don’t forget too the message it sends out to our other key players, and to the football world generally. Our players are for sale at the right price, even to our closest competitors. Tottenham Hotspur: a club forever building, forever looking to the future, and forgetting the here and now, when so close to immediate Glory!!!
    Obviously, no point dwelling on it anymore, and there’s a lot we don’t know behind the scenes, of course. I do know if Alves had joined up with Pep again, Walker would still be here. But then that reversal made City ‘desperate’ to get Walker, so what’s with the £45m plus add-ons?! Levy knew he held all the cards on this. City would not have gone into the new season without a world class right back, so why didn’t Levy hold out for £50m straight, or even more? City could have afforded that petty difference! Add-ons is a bitter sweet thing for us. We get £5m extra if he plays well and achieves things ..while we get just the initial £45m if he doesn’t (which is really, deep down, what we want). I liked (like) Walker, and I know we’ll miss him terribly (at least during this tough season). I remember the great things he did, not just the odd, or even important, mistake. I remember Greaves missing goals, but they’re not my ‘abiding memory’ of him, thank God. But I don’t like what Walker said about Pep hopefully taking his game to another level. Poch took Walker’s game to another level, and made him the world class he is, and not to acknowledge that (despite their supposed little spat) made me very uncomfortable, and, as a result, hoping that he doesn’t indeed improve on what he was at Spurs (which means City should still get their money’s worth).
    So goodbye Walker ..too soon mate. And no more sales of key players please ..and no more ‘wasted’ buys of £30m like Sissoko (and others like Soldado, Paulinho, Nyje, Chiriches etc.). Hopefully Lamela will feel like a new signing (he owes us), and Winks and Rose will come back stronger than ever. I trust in Poch, and even Levy, long term …but let us not waste this moment!

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    • Good to hear from you. I recommended the comments section to a friend yesterday and comments like yours is why. Thanks for putting the time and effort into that. I would not have sold Walker even at that price, if MP has a weakness it may be working through confrontations without ending relationships.

      Cheers Alan

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      • How true, Alan. It’s vital that Poch maintains a mutually respectful relationship and strong bond with all his key players. That, as well as his coaching expertise, is integral to the success of our club. If he falls out with any of them, then easing players aside with a view to selling them should be a last resort after all other avenues of reconciliation have failed. But I trust in his love for the players he has helped to develop, and their love for him, and hope he can surmount such problems. Alex Ferguson at United made mistakes, but what a legacy he left. I only hope that Poch can perhaps emulate that.

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