Rise to the top: What Spurs can expect from Vincent Janssen

Tottenham Hotspur’s search for a new striker is almost over. Dutch forward Vincent Janssen is poised to complete his move to the Premier League from AZ Alkmaar imminently, after revealing that he “won’t train with AZ anymore”.

The 22-year-old target man is quoted by Dutch outlet Algemeen Dagblad as saying: “The clubs are now really close to an agreement. I’m glad that it is almost complete. For me, it was clear from the beginning that I wanted to go to Spurs.

“It is a beautiful club with a fantastic stadium and heaps of potential. Anyone in my shoes would take this step.”

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Spurs fan will be delighted with Janssen’s comments ahead of the proposed move, which is set to cost the North London club around £18 million, as he is seemingly fully committed to Mauricio Pochettino’s vision.

Janssen has turned down interest from Premier League rivals West Ham, as well as French giants Paris Saint-Germain as he has his sight firmly set on Tottenham – something supporters will have be only too pleased to see.

The Dutchman’s arrival will give Spurs a much-needed backup option to Harry Kane as well as a player who will look to continue his rise to stardom under Pochettino’s guidance. So what can Spurs expect from their incoming frontman?

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As everyone knows, a striker’s main job is to score goals. If he doesn’t, then many fans would be quick to deem him a failure. But luckily, Janssen is no stranger to the back of the net. In fact, he scored more goals than any other player in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, bagging 27 in 34 league appearances.

Scoring 27 league goals in mighty impressive for any striker, but when you break down his feats from last term, it becomes all the more so. Janssen did not find the net in any of his first eight games but then bagged 20 in the second-half of the campaign, becoming the first player to do so for 52 years.

He is also the youngest player to score 25 or more league goals in an Eredivisie season since Brazilian legend Ronaldo did 20 years earlier.

Now, you might be quick to point to the Eredivisie’s lack of quality compared to the Premier League, but let’s not forget that the likes of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Luis Suarez and Wilfried Bony were all top scorers in the Netherlands before going on to enjoy success in England.

On top of his impressive league haul last season, the Feyenoord youth product scored three Europa League goals and has netted three in five international appearances for the Netherlands. His first international start came against England at Wembley in March in a game that saw Janssen named man of the match after picking up a goal and an assist in that 2-1 win.

Janssen will be hoping to enjoy a similarly successful path to that of Van Nistelrooy – a player he has often been compared to – and Spurs fans should be delighted at the prospect of seeing another natural goalscorer join Kane in the squad.

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Janssen might be three inches shorter than Harry Kane, but he weighs 14 kilograms more and makes sure he uses his strength to bully defenders and make space for himself and teammates inside the box. He thrived in a 4-2-3-1 system at AZ last term and should have no problem adapting to Pochettino’s style of play.

The 22-year-old registered four assists last term and made the third-most key passes of all strikers in the Eredivisie. So as well as being a lethal finisher inside the penalty area, Janssen is a talented provider when it comes to carving out chances for teammates.

Table: Janssen's 2015/16 league statistics compared to Kane's (Stats via Squawka).

Table: Janssen’s 2015/16 league statistics compared to Kane’s (Stats via Squawka).

Future star

Spurs are paying for a player to come in and make an immediate impact at the club but also for a player that looks on course to continue to improve as he develops further. This time last year, Janssen had yet to kick a ball in Dutch football’s top league. He had just joined AZ from Almere City in the second tier, where he scored 32 goals in 74 appearances in all competitions, but stepped up to an improved league without any real difficulty.

He will need to step up again with a move to the Premier League but this a player who should have little trouble in doing so. He is a player who has always worked relentlessly hard to better his game, as vouched for by former youth coach, Gaston Taument: “There has not been a day that Janssen has not used optimally. That shows his character: he is a fighter, a hardy spirit. 

“I think it’s incredible that Vincent fought in the second tier and bounced back,” Taument added in an interview with Voetbal International.

He is a player that has Dutch fans excited for the future. The national team may have missed out on the European Championships this summer but in Janssen, the Oranje have an emerging star to build a successful team around once more.

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When he eventually completes his expected move to Spurs, they will have a player that fits the mould of the current team perfectly: A young star blessed with huge amounts of talent and even more potential.

While he will not be guaranteed regular first-team starts at Spurs because of Harry Kane’s importance to the side, Janssen will look to showcase his battling spirit and determination to the White Hart Lane crowd at any opportunity he receives.

Spurs needed a backup for their superstar forward. They look to have got one of those, but one who could go on to be as good, if not better than last year’s leading Premier League goalscorer…

How good a signing is Vincent Janssen for Tottenham? 

About Louis East (1300 Articles)
Editor of Premier League and MLS reporter.

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