No case for the Tottenham defence
It's best not to read too much into preseason results, but they do give an insight into the current strengths and weaknesses of a team.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham side have looked good going forward so far this summer, attacking with much more pace and movement than last season. The midfield are now looking to move the ball forward quickly, and there has been a noticeable increase in the amount of one- and two-touch passing -- though this might just be a byproduct of Mousa Dembele and Paulinho not playing.
Further forward, the movement of the attacking midfield three bodes well for the future. The trio have license to roam, as evidenced by Erik Lamela's two goals against Toronto FC. Starting on the right, Lamela had freedom to drift toward the middle of the field and scored both of his goals from a position on the left.
Spurs have scored three goals in each of their preseason games, but the fact that they have conceded a total of five demonstrates where the problem lies. Against Seattle the team defended abysmally, with keeper Brad Friedel having to pull off a passable impression of Tim Howard against Belgium to keep the score line decent.
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Tottenham may be linked with players such as Morgan Schneiderlin and Antoine Griezmann, but it would be no disaster if they went into the new season without reinforcements in the midfield and attack.
The defence is a different matter, with more work needing to be done. The club have gone some way to addressing the issues at the back. Ben Davies was brought in to solve the long-running problem at left-back, and Michel Vorm was recruited to provide suitable cover for keeper Hugo Lloris.
Michael Dawson's performances have been woefully off pace, but things aren't as simple as merely replacing him with a younger model. Younes Kaboul also has to prove he can get back to his best because on last season's form, he too is past it. In contrast, Zeki Fryers probably needs more experience before he's ready for more action at Spurs and would benefit from a loan move.
As if that wasn't enough, it is rumoured that Vlad Chiriches could be joining Roma. Though his form declined as last season went on, Chiriches was impressive in his early months at the club. Surely he can't be allowed to leave while Dawson and Kaboul are still there?
You'd think not, but Steven Caulker was sold when it made more sense to offload someone else. Plenty of Tottenham fans don't rate him, yet it's undeniable that he would have seen plenty of first-team action last season. Caulker might never turn out to be a world-beater, but he was available at a relatively modest price this summer. He has potential and, at this stage of his career, is better than Dawson (and most probably Kaboul).
He's also arguably a better bet than Ron Vlaar. The Aston Villa defender had an incredible World Cup and Spurs are currently linked with a move for him. It's an odd link as Vlaar is far too slow to play in Pochettino's system.
Some better options have fallen by the wayside. Dejan Lovren was too expensive and Hector Moreno broke his leg during the World Cup. More candidates must be found fast, because the question is not whether Spurs need to sign a new central defender, but if one will be enough.