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Tottenham, Andriy Yarmolenko and tentative theories

Andriy Yarmolenko is one of the great mysteries of European football.  The Ukrainian is amongst the most extravagantly gifted players of this generation and, whenever he surfaces on British television, viewers are always left puzzled as to how it is that he’s remained in a second-tier league for so long.

A lovely range of skills; a left-foot that is part siege-gun, part-wand; a really creative mind.

He’s an excellent player who belongs in the brightest spotlight and yet, already nearly 26, he has thus far resisted the temptation to pursue the money and the fame that his ability should give him access to.

It seems, however, that - with his contract a year away from expiring and his determination not to leave Kiev on a free - he is finally ready to leave and, as you’d expect, there’s plenty of interest.

Stoke City and Liverpool have all been linked with the player, but the only confirmed bid so far has come from Tottenham - something confirmed by Yarmolenko himself in a recent interview (thanks to @FutbolUkraine for that).

There is still a month left of the transfer-window and, given that his career has been leading up to this moment for a while, you wouldn’t expect Yarmolenko to rush this process.  Spurs’ interest will excite their fans - of course - but it’s worth them remembering that there’s usually a motivation for a player to publicise interest.

He belongs in the Champions League and, given that Tottenham are neither involved in the competition at the moment or likely to return any time soon, it seems fanciful to believe that their path to actually signing him will be straightforward.

Still, because this is slightly more than just a generic, baseless rumour, it’s worth a few lines…

Tottenham’s forward-line currently looks like this:

Roberto Soldado will, today or tomorrow, complete a move back to Spain.  Emmanuel Adebayor is apparently headed for a Tim Sherwood reunion at Villa and, given that he was left out of the recent tour to America, it seems smart to assume that Andros Townsend is also about to leave the club.

Consequently, Spurs looks perilously thin at the top of the pitch.  No genuine alternative currently exists for Harry Kane and both Dele Alli and Alex Pritchard, promising as they are, are completely unproven beyond League One and the Championship respectively.

The interest in Yarmolenko evidently has its root in his ability and that alone would be reason enough to pay the expected asking price for him.  However, in this instance he’s also valuable because of his dexterity -  he is a multi-position player who, although probably best suited to the left, can play on both flanks and - theoretically - through the middle.

Personally, I’ve never seen him play anywhere other than from the left, but his ability should transfer across the attacking-third.

The benefit to Spurs is fairly obvious: having a resource of Yarmolenko’s quality would clearly be of value, but having another flexible piece would not only provide Mauricio Pochettino with a little more diversity in his team-selections, but it would afford him the opportunity to rotate his attacking components in and out of the side.  The addition of the Ukrainian would perhaps allow for Erik Lamela to be shifted inside, for Christian Eriksen to be rested or move to the left of midfield and so on and so forth.

Attacking flexibility is something of a voguing concept in English football and, as last season showed, Tottenham do not enough of it - both in the sense that too much physical demand is placed on those offensive players and, also, that Pochettino is really restricted to attacking opponents in only one way.

This remains a very low-percentage situation, so it’s not worthy of any proper, thousand-word analysis pieces yet, but it’s something to be revisited if and when it increases in likelihood.

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9 Comments on "Tottenham, Andriy Yarmolenko and tentative theories"

  1. Your points are broadly fair, but avoid making assumptions about how hard I work - that ‘read and guess’ remark is unnecessary.

    This stuff is all free, all done in my spare time and all written outside of any freelancing obligations.

    If you want to rage against journalists who construct fictitious stories and fabricate melodrama - fair enough - but I’m not one of them.

    Let’s leave this now, please.

  2. But you’re a journalist. You’re supposed to write about topics you’re specialized in. And if you’re not specialized, then you research.

    Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot about what you’ve said to be true and I like your writing style, however I’m merely pointing out (as somebody who does watch a lot of PL and European football), that as a journalist you shouldn’t make fleeting statements without any thorough research. You’ve basically read that he’s left footed and assumed he’s a left winger, when in fact Dynamo Kiev deploy him as an inverted right winger and the Ukraine national squad in the same position or sometimes through the middle. Remember it’s Konoplyanka they play on the left!

    And if you find my stance “aggressive” then so be it. I’m just fed up with journalists who make up stories and/or don’t do there job correctly. If I did my job by guessing, based on something I’ve read there would be hell to pay, but jounro’s seem to get away with it. You get paid to write about stuff, so do your homework and then write instead of making assumptions and taking the lazy route. That’s like hearing a movie is awful and then writing about it without seeing it!

    You’ve also mentioned about streaming, etc and yes I do this and so should you as a football writer. Maybe even watch some clips on Youtube. If you’d done that you’d know he’s an inverted right winger and we wouldn’t be having this pointless conversation.

  3. I’m happy to defer to anyone with better knowledge of him, I think that’s fairly clear. I’m sure you religiously watch Ukrainian football - never miss a game, always find the right streams - but ultimately he’s been a fleeting presence on British television, so your aggressive stance towards sketchy knowledge is disproportional.

    If I’m wrong, I’m wrong…it happens.

  4. He never plays on the left for club or country, so its not honesty, it’s guess work!

  5. It’s honesty - I’m not going to pretend to have seen him play more often than I have and I’m not going to lie about where on the pitch I’ve seen him play.

    If you want that, go somewhere else - but don’t confuse it with ‘research’.

  6. Lazy journalism and zero research yet again. You’ve stated “I’ve never seen him play anywhere, other than the left”…. Yarmolenko is left footed yes, but he’s always been deployed as an inverted right winger!.. Yes he can play on the left or through the middle, but if you’d done some research you’d know this right?!!

    Anyway, Yarmolenko is an outstanding player. He’s technically brilliant and would be a huge asset to Spurs. If Levy lets this one slide he’s more of a muppet than I ever thought he was.

    Yarmo would turn our team around and at 25, 6’1″ and with such versatility he fits exactly to what Spurs are looking for. If we can get him for 15m it would be one of the top bargains of this transfer window.

  7. Spurs are not in the CL this seaosn - but they have a young, maturing team, and a young, maturing Head Coach. I don’t think it is possible for anyone to say just how good, or how poor, they will develop to be. I personally rate the ceiling for most of these players as very high. Not to mention that the winners of the Europa get a CL place and I see nothing improbable in Spurs giving that tournament a good go.

    So, alas, I never got any further than your assertion that Spurs won’t get into the CL any time soon. It will be a tough task ‘via the league’ this year. Anything other than that, is just hyperbole.

  8. until Soldado and Adebayor are definitely off the books it seems as if they will not sign anyone. Gonna be a Levy last minute thing as per usual.

  9. victor67 | Aug 3, 2015 at 2:34 pm |

    Just do it
    Time is passing by
    Yarmalenko seems a good a good buy n having a good left foot.. like a Bale type.
    Spurs is VERY SHORT in attack..striker positions
    Cmon get Yarma.. Berahino.. C Jie or Timo Werner
    Yes 3 attackers
    SPURS will flow again.

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