With Harry Kane now staying at Tottenham, Jian Batra analyses how good an asset the England captain will be at Spurs with Nuno Espírito Santo employing a new system, and the repercussions this will have on other assets such as Son Heung-min.
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Combinations not Individuals:
Whilst it may appear a very simple “problem” whether Harry Kane (£12.3m) is a good asset under Nuno, a deeper dive into the situation reveals that being arguably the “best striker in the world” doesn’t necessarily qualify you to automatically being a top tier FPL asset.
Last year without doubt in order to be successful you will have had to own Harry Kane for a large proportion of the season with him amassing 242 points (48 more than Patrick Bamford (£8.0m), the second highest scoring forward).
However FPL is a relative game not absolute, a game of combinations rather than individuals. Owning a premium player who is returning consistently doesn’t automatically equal success, because your points total is just as reliant on the budget player you acquired in order to facilitate the premium.
By definition these “budget players” are cheaper because the probability of them returning X amount of points is lower than a player more expensive than them, who now can’t be acquired due to the expensive nature of the premium (of course there are cheap gems but there are also overpriced players so in the end it balances out across the game).
There’s only three forward options at maximum capacity and given the plethora of them who are not only under-priced but in fantastic form (Antonio, £7.7m + Dominic Calvert-Lewin, £8.1m) and further players with excellent upcoming fixture swings (Patrick Bamford, £8.0m + Raul Jimenez £7.4m) it makes it even more difficult to justify Harry Kane. Then of course you have the small matter of Romelu Lukaku (£11.5m)
Below I will look at an analysis of how he will fair under Nuno, because most including myself expected him to being working under Pep Guardiola this season so didn’t take the transition into account. How he affects Son Heung-min (£10.0m) plus a few other assets, and my conclusion on whether you should bring him in.
New Manager and New System:
Under Jose Mourinho as shown early in Tottenham’s Amazon documentary it was clear the manager had a focus of making Harry Kane the most complete striker in the world, and he did that. The system created allowed Kane to drop in deeper, in the midfield pockets a traditional Number 10. would occupy in order to compensate for the lack of creative quality in the Spurs midfield.
Whilst Tanguy Ndombele possesses brilliant ball progression he lacks a consistent quality final pass, something which Kane doesn’t.
This naturally sent Kane’s assist numbers through the roof amassing 14 in the season. It actually helped his goals tally as he scored a similar amount due to his natural positioning of a striker but also from arriving in the box slightly later due to his excellent movement, similarities could be drawn to the method of Dimitar Berbatov with his late arrival.
Tactical analysis –
In regards to the system, against the “bigger sides” Kane will have good opportunities for assists but struggle for a volume of good goal scoring chances.
Nuno used his Number 9. to cover the Manchester City pivot rather than press either of the centre backs, this slightly deeper positioning off the ball considering Spurs will have less possession and accommodating for Kane’s lack of pace means it’s difficult to see him getting into the box often from open play.
The wingers were used in a very narrow manner and rather than press the ball from the back they simply cut the passing lanes to the inverted full backs in the half spaces. They were positioned higher than the Number. 9 to close the angle of the pass and force long diagonal switches (something which City refused to do and kept going sideways between only the first two lines (maximum), as a result of their stubbornness).
This opportunity on the counter attack and transition (less so) offers the half space channel to the wingers and as seen with Kane’s quality of pass combined with Son’s overall brilliance, their partnership flourishing again is what is likely to lead to Spurs scoring in the big games.
The evidence above suggests Son is a better pick for the “bigger games”.
When playing the “lesser sides” who set up in “low blocks” they are very likely to have more of the ball and be on the front foot. Kane will be far more effective in these games (comparative to the rest of his side regarding the “bigger games”).
Raul Jimenez was central to everything going on in the Wolves attack. There’s a huge difference in the playing style of Jimenez under Nuno and Kane under Mourinho. Jimenez operated as a more traditional Number 9. with him acting as a target man and someone to link play off.
He would often receive the ball with his back towards goal and required usage of his excellent touch and physicality in order to bring others into play and create chances for himself. He also offered a more traditional route to goal scoring with a majority coming from inside the box.
Whilst I expect Nuno to certainly realise Kane’s a more complete player and has better players around him, I expect a via media between the “Mourinho Kane” and “Nuno Jimenez”, and rather he will slot into pockets to help create just at a lesser rate and not drop as deep.
It makes him a greater goal scoring threat against low blocks but limits the assist potential slightly.
Son with and without Kane:
The theory is often thrown around that Son is far better without Kane and here’s some statistics to disprove that in terms of underlying statistics, which over a larger sample size is more important:
|Son with Kane||Son without Kane|
Son can be just as effective if not more with Kane and under this system especially.
Other Spurs Assets:
Kane most certainly enhances Sergio Reguilon’s (£5.1m) opportunities for attacking returns through his crossing predominantly. The right full back who looks to be Japhet Tanganga (£4.5m) won’t likely see a huge amount of attacking returns but nonetheless his chances will improve.
Dele Alli (£6.5m) looks to be reborn and is another who will be brought into the game far more and will have the responsibility to progress the ball and create chances from slightly deeper central areas.
Son was previously discussed and I don’t think Kane will have huge implications on many other assets (the other wingers will be rotated and have less game time but that’s been an occurrence for many seasons now).
As discussed previously many other strikers now have great fixtures and as such I didn’t want to unnecessarily overcomplicate the problem.
Spurs face a mixed bunch of fixtures with the “good and bad” alternating in blocks of two (on paper at least).
Gameweek 11-25 looks a far better stretch to own Kane where the amount of tougher fixtures are minimal in comparison to earlier in the season.
Having so much money invested in a player at this price means you should have the ability to captain him more often than not, and with the fixtures until Gameweek 11, I’d argue you would be looking at him as a captaincy option less than 50% of the time.
Very simply I think we can do without Kane in our FPL teams, for the short term at least.
The plethora of forward options for around £4.0m+ cheaper who are looking to score a similar amount of points as things stand provide far better value, where the money can be reinvested into other areas in the team.
Further, I’d be able to provide a extensive argument as to why Lukaku is the better premium option out the two and finally Son provides sufficient if not better cover at £2.3m cheaper.
To clarify, I do and have for a while believed Kane is the best striker on the planet, I just think with all the external circumstances, he isn’t quite FPL gold in the current moment.
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