In signing Vincent Janssen for Spurs, Mauricio Pochettino has added a player with all the attributes to succeed in his system.
Vincent Janssen became our second signing of the summer. Arriving from AZ Alkmaar, the Dutch international is the striker that we’ve been craving. But what will he add to Spurs and how will he fit in?
Assassin in the inside right channel
Vincent Janssen brings is his ability to work the channels, particularly the inside right. This is crucial for strikers in Mauricio Pochettino’s system.
Harry Kane is often been seen buzzing through the inside left channel. This is where the assists came from for his goals last season.
Kane is predominantly right-footed, so this is the natural side of the pitch for him to work. It allows him to get through and open up the goal for finishing with his stronger foot.
Vincent Janssen is more two-footed than Harry Kane, but does favour his left. Working the inside right channel allows him to also open up the goal, just from the opposite side.
We can see how he favours the inside right channel from his passes played last season against Heerenveen.
And also how he favours working the inside right channel against Willem II.
This gives Mauricio Pochettino options. Two strikers, both who are adept at working the inside channels on either side of the pitch. Whether this is from normal play or a counter attack situation, where Janssen is also very strong, we now have two lethal finishers.
Vincent Janssen can also finish with either foot. This should make his runs through the inside channels even deadlier.
Last season in the Eredivisie, Janssen scored 10 goals with his right foot and 15 with his left, highlighting that he is comfortable with either. These came from 39 shots with his right and 95 with his left according to WhoScored, so he was actually more efficient with his slightly less favoured foot.
He also isn’t afraid to shoot with 4.5 shots per game, the second highest average in the Eredivisie. With Spurs leading the Premier League with 17.3 shots per game last season and Harry Kane taking 4.2 per match, Janssen should still get a similar shot volume. Kane hit the target with 47% of his strikes last season, Janssen with 42%, so both are highly accurate.
Hitting the runners beyond
One thing a striker has to be able to do in Mauricio Pochettino’s system is to hit the runners going past him. It’s imperative that the number nine can can come short, hold the ball up and pass to those running beyond him.
We’ve seen this develop over the course of last season with Harry Kane and Dele Alli. Kane is able to come short, dragging the centre backs with him, allowing Alli to burst past him in to the space created. We saw this to devastating effect in the 4-0 win over Stoke at the Britannia.
Vincent Janssen is not the tallest, but he does have a big body that he uses well to fend off defenders and hold the ball up. He then has the ability to use both feet and a decent weight of pass. He uses these attributes to play in runners going beyond him, as he does here to set up Mounir El Hamdaoui.
El Hamdaoui made the burst beyond Janssen and was rewarded with the goal. Mauricio Pochettino will require Vincent Janssen to do more of this next season. The quicker he gets on the same wavelength as Dele Alli, the better.
Five assists in the Eredivise last season are testament to Vincent Janssen’s ability to play others in.
His assist for Holland against England at Wembley also showed many of Janssen’s good characteristics. It started off with him running the inside channel to receive the pass. He used his strength to shrug off Phil Jagielka. Then he had the composure to pick out Luciano Narsingh at the back post.
Spotting teammates in better positions to score saw Vincent Janssen make 1.7 key passes per game last season. This was the thirteenth highest average in the Eredivise, not bad for a striker.
Long ball love
Another area of Janssen’s game that appeals to Mauricio Pochettino is how he is adept with the long, quick pass forward. This can be out of defence or on the counter attack.
The arrival of Toby Alderweireld signalled a new dawn in our attack. His penchant for a long pass over the top of a defence to set either Dele Alli or Harry Kane in on goal is well known. Mauricio Pochettino wants us to keep defences on their toes by quickly turning them and this does just that.
Vincent Janssen also likes this kind of pass. He is not fast, but his movement is stealthy and he likes to play on the shoulder. It also allows him to use his dribbling to great effect as defenders find it hard to get the ball off him as he shields it well.
You can already see Toby Alderweireld making this kind of pass to Vincent Janssen next season.
We saw a lot of 4-2-3-1 from Mauricio Pochettino last season without many options to change it. Vincent Janssen offers not just a backup or rotation option for Harry Kane, but is also equally at home in a 4-3-3 or alongside a strike partner in a 4-4-2 diamond.
AZ Alkmaar used the twin striker approach to good effect at times last season. With Janssen being left footed and Kane right, it offers the versatility that you wouldn’t get up front with two same footers.
What’s more, Kane likes to run the inside left channel, Janssen the inside right. This would give centre backs fits. The pair can both pass and move towards or away from the ball to hold it up or play others in, so it could be devastating when deployed.
This formational flexibility will give Mauricio Pochettino other looks to either start or change matches with, an exciting prospect.
The one concern about goal scorers from the Eredivisie is the standard of the league. Vincent Janssen will also have to shake off this reputation before we know just how good he truly can be. There is the concern though that he is a flat-track bully. Janssen scored 27 goals in the Eredivise last season, but only 1 came in the 4 games against the top two.
Ajax and PSV were the standout teams in Holland last season. They were miles in front of the rest, 19 points ahead of Feyenoord in third to be exact. Just one goal in four games against them is a cause for concern, as were his two goals in six Europa League matches. Vincent Janssen is still yet to do it consistently against top quality opposition.
What Vincent Janssen brings to Spurs?
Identifying and targeting Vincent Janssen is definitely the work of our scouting department.
He has all of the attributes that Mauricio Pochettino requires from his centre forward. Strong, able to hold the ball up, hit runners going beyond him, work the inside channels, look for the long ball in-behind, and, most importantly, score goals.
His ability to do all this, and offer some flexibility to our formations as well, makes the signing of Vincent Janssen an exciting one for the upcoming season.