Tottenham Hotspur owner Daniel Levy has made some bad decisions in recent years.
The club’s decision – making from top to bottom has been incredibly striking and late, and that includes their activities in the transfer market.
Spurs have missed key stars to rivals, failed to convince big targets of their plans to return to challenging for the Premier League title and now risk losing a few world-class players already at their disposal.
So it’s time to start getting these choices right. A big transfer headache for the new football manager Fabio Paratici is either Lyon talisman Houssem Aouar or AS Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini.
Both players have built up a pretty good reputation as Europe’s most exciting midfielder in recent years, and both are potentially available this summer. Pellegrini’s current contract has an exciting release clause of £ 26 million, while Lyon are expected to accept bids of around £ 30 million for Aouar – an absolute steal.
However, the Spurs cannot sign them both, so they must choose the right man to push them back to the top four. But which star should they play on? 90 minutes analyzes which player is the best.
A Talented Player / Xavier Laine / Getty Images
Pellegrini flourished last season and recorded behind the striker in an attacking and adventurous Roma side. He has also become a much more consistent artist and records 20 goal contributions in all competitions for the 2020/21 campaign. He is an intelligent, creative operator who, despite lacking a killer instinct in front of the target, has great pleasure in serving others in better positions.
Not the fastest or most difficult with the ball at his feet, he relies on his vision and ability to break the lines as he passes.
Aouar has made a name for himself as one of the most promising talents in European football, and had it not been for France’s insane pool of midfield options, he would probably have played no role at Euro 2020. He is a competent goalkeeper, excellent at dribbling with the ball and can select a key pass in the last third.
A bit of an all-rounder.
This is one of Pellegrini’s greatest weaknesses and the main cause of the frustration of Roman supporters. The Giallorossi star tends to disappear against the very big teams, and he looks like a boy against men in the most physical midfield battles.
If you want to write a player who can win matches against direct rivals, this is not the one you need.
If there is one thing Juventus and Manchester City’s supporters learned during their failed Champions League campaigns in 2019/20, it is that Aouar appears in big matches. Against all odds, Lyon managed to cause outrage in the quarter-finals and quarter-finals against Bianconeri and Citizens, with their French man at heart, dominating the midfield battle and pushing their team forward.
It was an older tournament for Aouar, and one that put him on the radar of Europe’s elite.
A goal scorer / Eurasia Sport Images / Getty Images
Remarkably, Pellegrini and Aouar have scored the same number of league goals in their careers, although the latter has played significantly fewer matches. The Roma man has recorded 23 strikes in Serie A, while he has an impressive 32 assists – 12 more than his rival.
As mentioned, Aouar has scored 23 goals in his career, although they have come in 127 league games, compared to Pellegrini’s 162. The Frenchman also plays a touch deeper than Pellegrini, so his chances of finding the net are more limited.
This is where Pellegrini shines. He can hide from the big teams, but that’s probably because they know how to deny him the time and space he needs. When he gets an extra half second, he can be devastating. You can see that he grew up and saw Francesco Totti in the ambitious passes that he sees and tries to complete, and from time to time they come off.
That courage and vision can be invaluable, if properly cared for and encouraged.
Aouar is not quite as effective in the final third as Pellegrini, and often does his best work a little deeper in midfield than the Roma star. He managed ten assists in all competitions in the 2019/20 campaign, but that number dropped to four last season.
He is an extremely intelligent game controller and perhaps could increase his numbers with the right players around him.
A Giant Killer / Pool / Getty Images
For us, this is the biggest concern that Spurs should have when considering signing Pellegrini. The 25-year-old is a talented player, but his style does not suit the Premier League. Roma fans regret how slow he is when he makes a decision in the last third, and his tendency to delay a pace for a second too long costs his side speed and sometimes sees him robbed of possession.
If he continues along that path and fails to remove that shortcoming in his game, he simply has no chance of surviving in the much more intense and high-paced division that is the Premier League.
Aouar was built for the English top flight. He is small in size, but incredibly strong on the ball and difficult to hit it. He has the zipper above the ground needed to avoid tackles and cover in the middle of the pitch, and has previously shown that he can stand up to the toughest Premier League tests.
Not much competition in this particular fight.
It’s him / Catherine Steenkeste / Getty Images
The fact that Pellegrini has had this £ 26 million release clause in his contract for a couple of years and no one has bothered to trigger it, nor has the Roma bothered to remove it, should set alarm bells. He is a frustrating player to watch, even though he improved last season and took on more responsibility in his boys’ club.
Simply put, Aouar is without a doubt the better option for Spurs. He is dynamic, fast both mentally and physically and showed in his destruction of Man City that he has match-winning screens against the very best in his closet.
Pellegrini’s release clause is tempting, but do not be blinded by it, Spurs. Aouar is the man.
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