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3 Reasons why Tottenham Hotspur should sign Willian Jose | Premier League 2019-20

  • Brazilian striker Willian Jose could be on his way to Tottenham Hotspur - and here are 3 reasons why Spurs should definitely sign him.
Scott Newman
Modified 25 Jan 2020, 05:34 IST

Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose is currently linked with a move to Tottenham
Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose is currently linked with a move to Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur have been in the hunt for a new striker throughout the January transfer window following the long-term injury to their talismanic hitman Harry Kane, and it seems like Jose Mourinho may have found his man in the form of Real Sociedad’s Willian Jose.The 28-year old Brazilian – who has scored eight goals in 20 La Liga appearances thus far in 2019-20 – is reportedly in talks with the North London club, and although a recent report claimed that Spurs and Real Sociedad are “roughly £11m apart in their valuation” for the striker, there’s still time for the move to go through during the current window.

So is Willian Jose the right man for Mourinho and Spurs? Here are 3 reasons why the Brazilian would be worth the risk.

#1 He’s a target-man

Like the injured Harry Kane, Willian Jose can operate as a target-man
Like the injured Harry Kane, Willian Jose can operate as a target-man

Ever since the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Tottenham in November, Spurs have become a more direct team, with long balls played by central defender Toby Alderweireld becoming a key part of their gameplan. While playing a more direct game was working when Harry Kane was in the side, since he’s been injured it’s become less effective.

Essentially, without Kane in the side, Spurs lack a big target-man upfront to make their direct game work. In their most recent game, for instance – a 2-1 win over Norwich – it became simply ridiculous to see the number of times the 5’8” Lucas Moura attempted – and failed – to jump for balls played over the top.

That’s where Willian Jose could come in. At almost 6’3” and around 93kg, he’s a bigger man than Kane, and true to form, he usually tends to play as a classic target-man. For instance, the Brazilian has been involved in 39 aerial duels this season – a lower number than Kane, which is unsurprising given Sociedad’s less direct style – but per game, he wins more duels than he loses, whereas Kane’s statistics swing the other way.

Is Willian Jose as good as Kane when it comes to finishing, or in his overall play in terms of his involvement in team moves? Judging by most of the evidence, the answer is no – but he appears to be a similar player to Fernando Llorente, who was a reliable striker for Tottenham last season – and more than anything else, with the England captain unavailable he’d give Mourinho the big target-man he craves.

#2 He’s proven himself in one of Europe’s toughest leagues

Vincent Janssen struggled for Spurs despite being prolific in the Eredivisie
Vincent Janssen struggled for Spurs despite being prolific in the Eredivisie

Remember Vincent Janssen? The Dutch striker rose to fame with Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar in the 2015-16 season, hitting a tremendous 27 goals in just 34 games. It came as no surprise when Tottenham was willing to part with £17m to bring him to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2016 – but once he arrived in London, things went wrong.


The Dutchman ended up becoming one of Spurs’ all-time worst signings and was packed off to Mexican side Monterrey last summer after scoring just two Premier League goals in 31 appearances for the club. But how is this relevant to Tottenham’s current interest in Willian Jose?

Well, the difference between the two players is that while Janssen banged goals in for AZ in the Eredivisie, it’s no secret that over the last two decades, the standard of the Dutch league has slipped dramatically, meaning that players who look fantastic there don’t often find their feet so well once they move to one of Europe’s bigger leagues.

Willian Jose, on the other hand, has of course been scoring goals regularly in one of those bigger leagues – Spain’s La Liga – for five seasons now, and while he hasn’t been completely prolific – 15 goals in 34 games during the 2017-18 campaign is his best return so far – there’s an argument that 15 goals in La Liga might mean more than 27 in the Eredivisie.

Spurs could probably find a more prolific striker than the Brazilian if they looked around for long enough – scouring across all of Europe – but successful strikers in La Liga, particularly those who don’t play for one of Spain’s traditional giants. That’s why Willian Jose stands out as a smart signing.

#3 He can provide Kane with some much-needed rest going forward

Harry Kane has been crying out for a backup for years
Harry Kane has been crying out for a backup for years

Should Willian Jose sign with Tottenham this month, there can be no doubt that he’s likely going to be their first-choice striker for the remainder of 2019-20, that is if the reports that Harry Kane will likely be sidelined until late April turns out to be true. But what about once Kane returns to full fitness?

Well, unless the Brazilian somehow manages to score a ridiculous amount of goals for Spurs in his first few months, the likelihood is that once the England captain is back, the Real Sociedad man would be relegated to the role of a backup striker.

But assuming he’s willing to play as a backup, would that necessarily be a bad thing? Well, actually, no. For too long now, Tottenham have relied on Kane and only him to lead the line. Sure, the likes of Son Heung Min and Lucas Moura have taken some of the weight off his shoulders, but the England man has still played an insane amount of games since his rise to fame – a total of 252 since the start of 2014-15.

It’s not that Spurs haven’t had backups for Kane, it’s more that they simply couldn’t fully trust either Vincent Janssen or Fernando Llorente. But while Janssen was unproven at an elite level and Llorente was already somewhat past his prime when he arrived at Spurs. Willian Jose is in his prime at 28 and has a similar goalscoring record to that of the Spanish veteran.

So if Mourinho can trust the Brazilian – particularly if he starts well with Kane on the shelf – then Spurs might finally have a reliable backup for the England captain and may finally be able to give him some much-needed rest – and that’s a good thing for the club and the player.

Published 25 Jan 2020, 05:34 IST
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