The very man whom Tottenham have been chasing for what seems an eternity, Leandro Damião is yet again a transfer target for the club. However, recent reports from Brazil indicate that this will finally be the summer in which the Internacional front man will be sold; with the fee likely to be in the region of £20-£25 million. Spurs’ desperate need for a striker could mean that the deal will finally happen but just how would Leandro Damiao fit in at Spurs?
Standing at 6ft 1 inches tall, Leandro is a big physical presence. He uses his body well in back-to-goal situations, able to take down long passes on his chest with great ease; much like a Didier Drogba, and use his silk-like touch to lay the ball off to his teammates.
Leandro also has a tendency to ask for the ball to feet so he can utilize his exceptional dribbling skills to manoeuvre past players and slice open defences. His great dribbling ability is rather uncommon for a man his size, drawing a little comparison here to PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimović.
He also tends to move into the box early and hang on the shoulder of the last defender in an attempt to use his quickness to get on the end of crosses. When inside the box Damiao is as cool as they come; able to head the ball well and finish with both feet, his record of 89 goals in 149 games shows just how deadly a finisher he is. Leandro Damiao is best deployed as a lone front man; a complete forward such as himself relishes space and the freedom to express himself on the pitch.
How would he fit in?
Leandro’s presence upfront combined with his touch would encourage Gareth Bale and Lennon to come inside from the wing and link up with the Brazilian, allowing them to create chances or get shots off. Leandro’s hold up play would also encourage the likes of Dembele and Holtby to make forward runs and join in with the attack, knowing they have the defensive minded Sandro sitting behind them. Leandro Damiao’s quickness and dribbling skills would be very well utilized on the counter attack, particularly in away matches, further bolstering Tottenham’s counter-attacking prowess.
His introduction into the team would also likely see Spurs’ possession numbers rise from 53.03% to around the 55-56% range due to his ability to win the first ball from goal kicks and defensive clearances, something both Defoe and Adebayor struggled to do effectively last season. By obtaining more possession, Tottenham will most probably be able to create slightly more chances per game, which essential, especially in Home games against teams lower down the table who often employ a very deep defensive line with 10 men behind the ball.
All in all, Leandro Damiao would be a quality signing for Spurs’. On top of what he offers in build up play, he is a clinical goal scorer and at only 23 years of age, he will surely only get better and better. With his current level of ability I could see him becoming a consistent 25-30 goal a season striker in the Premier League and for this, reason he is top of André Villas-Boas’ summer shopping list.