Tottenham: Kicking the tires on top goal scorers from the Championship

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images) /

Every year Tottenham Hotspur searches for some cover or competition for Harry Kane. Maybe that person could come from the top scorers in the Championship.

Eleven players scored at least 15 goals in the Championship last season, however, not all of them fit the description of a player Tottenham might be likely to try to sign.

Who are those 11 players, which fit the parameters of a Spurs signing and which do not?

Please know I am not saying Tottenham will or will even try to sign any of these folks, but maybe they should at least kick the tires, given the struggles on offense this past season. To consider some more creative attacking options look here.

Too old for Tottenham

Thirty is a pretty significant age for a professional athlete, while there are likely still a few good years left in the tank, most players do more before than after 30. While I know I suggested Tottenham sign 30-year-old Willian, he is a proven Premier League commodity, not someone who you hope you might hit on from the Championship. Further, Willian would be signed on a free transfer, making it fit the budget well.

Of the three Championship top scorers over 30, only one may be of interest. Lewis Grabban knocked in 20 goals for Nottingham Forest during the term over some 3900+ minutes. However, at 32, the Englishman has more than 20 games in the top flight, but most of his career has been spent in the second division. His 20 goals are the most since 2013-14 for Grabban and he played the most minutes as well. While solid statistics, his opportunity to make a mark on the Premier League, particularly with a side like Tottenham is likely over.

The same is true of Nahki Wells, who at 30 has 45 minutes of Premier League experience with Burnley in 2017-18, and his 18 goals this season is the highest output of his career. However, 30-year-old Andrew Ayew, might be a different story.

While it has been a few years, Ayew is a proven Premier League scorer with 21 goals and 12 assists in 89 matches across parts of three seasons in the top flight. Capped 86 times and the captain of Ghana, Ayew, at less than 5 million euros may be an option if Spurs cannot find anyone else. However, Tottenham is likely better off looking elsewhere.

Not available for Spurs

A couple of those top scorers are simply not available for Spurs or really anyone else right now. Alexsandar Mitrovic led all players with 26 goals in the Championship for Fulham but is likely not available. Given Fulham were promoted, the Cottagers are looking to bolster their squad and building around their Serbian frontman is exactly how they will do that. So Mitrovic is out.

Patrick Bamford is another player who falls into a similar situation as Mitrovic. Bamford scored 16 times last term for Leeds United, who like Fulham are now back in the Premier League. Given the financial boost that comes with such a move and Leeds’ desire to stay in the top flight after so long out, Bamford is likely going nowhere.

While not part of a promotion team, Jarrod Bowen is unavailable for different reasons. Bowen signed with West Ham in January after raking up some 16 goals and four assists in half a season in the Championship. Following his signing in January, Bowen made 13 appearances for the Hammers, scoring once and assisting a further four goals. While unavailable given his new contract until 2025 with the Hammers, Bowen is worth mentioning as these other players could have a similar kind of impact at a lower cost.

Attackers worth Tottenham’s time

With six of the top 11 scorers from the Championship out of Tottenham’s frame for one reason or another, there are still five players, all under 25 who had a major impact in the Championship last season and are affordable options Spurs should consider.

Brentford Boys

The Brentford Bees had a terrific attack that fell just short of promotion after losing in the playoffs. Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma, and Bryan Mbeumo are all budding young talents, that pushed Brentford for 58 goals among the three across last season in what was mostly a three-man front line.

Watkins was the center forward and target for the team, who – except for two FA Cup matches – played all but 64 minutes on the season. In his 4,400+ minutes, he scored 25 times and had three assists. Not including penalties – as Watkins did not take any – he averaged .6 goals and/or assists per appearance, quite impressive. Watkins is good on the counter and an above-average passer, completing about 1.5 key passes per contest. If Spurs are looking for a center-forward to back-up and push Kane, the 24-year-old Watkins is a solid choice at about 12 million.

Either side of Watkins for Brentford was typically Said Benrahma and Bryan Mbeumo, two outstanding wingers.

Benrahma was the more productive of the two statistically, with 17 goals and nine assists compared to Mbeumo’s 16 goals and seven assists. However, Benrahma was the spot-kick taker for Brentford and converted four penalties on the season. Mbeumo had a higher goal/assist (not penalties) per contest at .548 compared to Benramha’s .512.

Regardless, both are excellent talents. Mbeumo just turned 21 this past month, is an excellent finisher, and is almost a pure right-winger. Benrahma, at 24, is a bit more polished and has shown the ability to take over football matches at the Championship level. He had two hat-tricks and a one-goal, two-assist game, thus accounting for three goals on three occasions. One of those was a 72-minute, perfect-10 rating against Wigan.

Benrahma had three other braces and another two-assist game. Averaging nearly four shots, more than two key passes, and more than three dribbles per game, you can understand why Benrahma has been linked with Spurs. Maybe when scouting they will see Watkins and Mbeumo too. With Benrahma valued at about 10 million and Mbeumo even less, maybe an opportunity exists.

Other Championship attacking options

Karlan Grant and Adam Armstrong are two more young Englishmen who had very good seasons for Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers respectively. At 22 and 23 years of age, Grant and Armstrong both fit the Spurs profile. Grant is good at hold-up play and a solid spot-kick taker, having converted six spot-kicks of his 19 total goals. While not a great defensive worker and a below-average passer, Grant a might be a notch below the others on the list.

Where Grant is a pure center-forward, Adam Armstrong is kind of a player without a position. Armstrong played in six different positions across the midfield and front lines for Blackburn on the season but was most effective as an attacking midfielder on either flank. Armstrong is a streaky player who got hot before the COVID-19 break, scoring or assisting 13 times across 15 games for Rovers. A nice long shooter, but an average passer, like Grant, Armstrong is likely a notch below the Brentford boys, but maybe worth at least looking at if you are Spurs.

What do you think, are any of these players up to the level Spurs need? Can we get someone on the cheap to fill the void until Troy Parrott is ready?