Premier League season preview: Tottenham Hotspur

Andre Villas-Boas is aiming for fourth. Photo: PA

** ***Last season:* 5th

Whichever way the Gareth Bale saga plays out, and the signs are he will leave White Hart Lane for the Bernabeu, Andre Villas-Boas can look forward to moulding his tactical vision further with the new signings he has made during a rollercoaster summer.

Spurs have lacked a classy, elegant striker in the last five years since Dimitar Berbatov upped sticks for United, Roberto Soldado's arrival a huge shot in the arm for Lane fans. The Spaniard's prolific penalty box prowess will have a crucial say in whether the north London team challenges the top four.

If AVB can integrate him quickly alongside Jermain Defoe or Emmanuel Adebayor up front in a preferred 4-3-3 system with Aaron Lennon, Andros Townsend, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby or promising Belgian Nacer Chadli then it could mean goals aplenty from the off. Chadli and Townsend are no Bales, nevertheless they can help the Portuguese boss in his quest for a Porto replication of attacking dominance on the left.

Sandro, who was statistically the best in Europe for his deep lying central midfield position when he got injured last season, will be key to anchoring the middle three alongside fellow Brazilian Paulinho and Mouse Dembele. Tom Carroll and Scott Parker provide competent back-up if they stay beyond the transfer window.

At the back, if fit, Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul should start with Danny Rose back from his hugely successful Sunderland loan to challenge cult favourite Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Kyle Naughton and Zeki Fryers at left-back. Club captain Michael Dawson, as good a role model in professional football as you will see in this day and age, offers excellent cover for Vertonghen and Kaboul.

Frenchman Hugo Lloris might have made a shaky start last season after the needless interjection of his national boss Didier Deschamps into the selection issue, however he had more than paid back Daniel Levy by the time the season finished with Brad Friedel continuing on the bench.

Youngsters Shaq Coulthirst and Harry Kane will be anxious to compete for the fourth striker berth in a season that could well see the perennial underachievers break into the top three, if injuries and luck go their way for a change.

Soldado could be the consistent striker Spurs desire. Credit:

Ins: Paulinho (Corinthians, undisc), Nacer Chadli (FC Twente, undisc), Roberto Soldado (Valencia, undisc)

Outs: Jack Barthram, David Bentley, John Bostock, William Gallas, Jack Munns, Jake Nicholson, Dean Parrett (All released), Nathan Byrne (Swindon, free), Massimo Luongo (Swindon, loan), Grant Hall (Swindon, loan), Alex Pritchard (Swindon, loan), Ryan Mason (Swindon, loan), Adam Smith (Derby, loan), Steven Caulker (Cardiff, £8m), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders, £6m), Bongani Khumalo (Doncaster, loan), Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore (both Hull)

Player to watch: Paulinho

Tipped as the Brazilian Frank Lampard, the international midfielder looks set to strike up a profitable partnership with compatriot Sandro in the Spurs engine room freeing up Mousa Dembele to roam dangerously.

Something to prove: Kyle Walker

The former Blades right-back slipped down the pecking order for England last season and the humble 23-year-old will want to excel from the outset to boost his chances of an international recall.

Predicted finish: 5th

Title odds: 28/1

*Your view: *Is getting back into the Champions League the most important thing for you this season?


@itvfootball 100% to show we didnt just do it once we are in in for the long run, a bit of silverware wouldnt go a miss aswell.


@itvfootball WIth the additions to the squad already and if Bale stays push to win the PL