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Jul 24, 2014

Revealed: Vorm's Spurs move makes sense

Michel Vorm is heading to Tottenham and insists he is unfazed at the prospect of being the club's number two.
Michel Vorm has moved to Tottenham and insists he is unfazed at the prospect of being the club's No.2

It has been suggested in some quarters that the draw of a bigger pay cheque must have been the primary -- or even only -- reason for Michel Vorm's transfer to Tottenham. Why else would a goalkeeper who is first choice at another Premier League side opt to uproot his family, moving hundreds of miles, merely to sit on the bench at another club?

Of course there is the possibility that Vorm will be hoping that he will be able to prove himself and eventually become No.1 in north London, but with arguably the league's best goalkeeper in his way, Hugo Lloris, his chances of regular domestic football are slim to say the least. With Brad Friedel also in reserve, questions are being asked as to whether Spurs really needed to add reinforcements to their goalkeeping reserves at all this summer.

- Hicks: Fans not fussed by Vorm exit

However, anyone who saw the now 43-year-old in action last season will agree that anything greater than a position as third-choice stopper for a team of Tottenham's calibre would be far too generous. With Andre Villas-Boas' high defensive line, Lloris became the Premier League's standard for the term "sweeper-keeper" and that part of his game has remained important since the Portuguese head coach's departure, too.

Friedel, meanwhile, has understandably lost confidence in his pace off the mark and his presence in goal, coupled with a defence that has become accustomed to relying on a goalkeeper sweeping up behind them, has not proved a viable combination. Friedel stays rooted to his line, nervous about charging out too quickly and being left stranded in no man's land. In his one Premier League appearance last season, Loic Remy was played through by a straight pass from Yoann Gouffran and a moment's hesitation from Friedel let the Frenchman in to score. Lloris may not have stopped his compatriot but someone quicker off his line certainly would have made the finishing job more difficult.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino clearly agrees, and the Argentinian has bought Swansea's No.1. It is not an expensive transfer but the general feeling around the deal is that Spurs would be better off prioritising other areas of the squad.

Most people would agree Vorm is no back-up goalkeeper, but that is largely thanks to the impact he had when he first came to England. In his debut season in the Premier League, he made it into WhoScored's team of the season as the best-performing stopper with an impressive average rating of 7.03. The following season that dropped to 6.70; then in 2013-14 it was down to 6.48.

In his most recent campaign, the Dutchman saved a miserly 61.0 percent of the shots on target he was tested with. That figure was the worst in the Premier League of players to make 15 or more appearances. That he stopped 73.1 percent in 2011-12 and 66.4 percent in 2012-13 shows that his performances have declined at Swansea, though to be fair so have those of his teammates. The chances opponents are creating against them could well have been of better quality and thus more difficult to save.

The worst shot-stopping ratio in the league makes for grim reading for Spurs' new signing, but suddenly a place on the bench at a team who will be hoping to challenge for Champions League football doesn't look so bad for Vorm.

Even without a run in either domestic cup and only progression to the last 16 of the Europa League, Spurs played 54 matches last season and they did so with a reserve goalkeeper who could barely be trusted. When Lloris regained consciousness in the 78th minute of a goalless draw at Everton last season, Villas-Boas chose to reinstate his dazed No.1 rather than replace him with Friedel. Now with Vorm on the bench, there will be no need to take such potentially perilous risks.

Lloris played 44 matches in all competitions last season and though Pochettino would be more than happy for him to play that many games next term, there is certainly the need for improved backup at White Hart Lane. Vorm represents a relatively cheap option at a reported 2.5 million pounds and for him, a change of scene and greater competition may curb the decline of his performances. All in all, the motivations of either Vorm or Tottenham seem perfectly well-grounded and justified for both parties.

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.