Tottenham: Is Callum Wilson the right call for Spurs?

With Bournemouth being relegated, rumors have come to light that Tottenham Hotspur may try to sign the Cherries striker Callum Wilson to back up Harry Kane.

In the never-ending quest to find competition and cover for Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with Callum Wilson, of recently-relegated Bournemouth.

As a 28-year-old striker with more than 100 Premier League starts, Wilson has lots of top-flight experience, unlike many of the options from the Championship.

So, the question is what – beyond experience – might Wilson bring to Spurs?

Wilson, Bournemouth regress to the mean

Callum Wilson scored 20 goals with Bournemouth in 2014-15, helping the team win the Championship and earn promotion to the Premier League. After a couple of seasons learning the ropes of the Premier League with Bournemouth – netting 19 times in 61 games over three seasons – Wilson had a career year in 2018-19. In 30 appearances (29 starts) for the club, Wilson led the team with 14 goals and was second on the team with a further nine assists.

With just the 19 goals and only two assists over the previous three seasons, it looked like Wilson had arrived as Bournemouth continued to hover around midtable. However, this past season, Wilson’s performance declined, and his fouls went up, as he and the team regressed enough to get relegated. Something was just off with Wilson and Bournemouth this past season as the harder they tried the worst things got.

Wilson had plenty of opportunities, he had 32 starts on 35 appearances for 2,908 minutes — Premier League highs for Wilson — but the output from the previous season dried up in 2019-20. Wilson saw his total shots, shots on target, and shots on target percentage all decline, despite more minutes and more games.

Whereas in 2018-19 Wilson was getting nearly one shot a game on target at .96, he saw that figure drop to .68 as his accuracy and attempts both went down. Making matters worse for Wilson, whereas the year before his passes were finding their mark and he had those nine assists, his passing was down as were his assists as he only set up one goal on the season.

Wilson was not alone. Neither Joshua King nor Ryan Fraser reached the same level as the previous season and when all three of your top scorers fail to reach their previous heights, you end up in a relegation scrap and in Bournemouth’s case, relegated. This is just to say, Wilson was not solely at fault for Bournemouth’s downfall, but his weaknesses certainly did not help.

Why Wilson is not right for Tottenham

Wilson has two big holes in his game, both of which make him a bad fit for Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur. First, after getting only nine cards in his first five seasons with Bournemouth, Wilson earned more than that this past season alone, with 10 yellow cards. When someone commits 55 fouls, a high number of cards might be a result.

Besides committing all those fouls and picking up those cards, Wilson was called offside 34 times on the season, which is nearly once per game. Add in the fact that Wilson’s touch just was not up to standard this past season, with more than three bad touches per game, according to WhoScored.com, and you do not have the answer to Tottenham’s problems.

With all that ailed Spurs attack this past season, adding someone else who is going to turn the ball over one out of every eight times he touches it, is not going to help.

Ultimately, Wilson is offside a lot, commits a lot of fouls, and has not done well holding the ball up. Those issues translated into as many games – seven – with a rating below six as above seven. A player who only came good in his contract year, with a further three years on the books at 20 million, it is a pass for me and should be for Spurs too.

What do you think? Should Spurs drop 20 million on a Premier League striker or take their chances with less proven talent?

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