Spurs fans shouldn't expect miracles from Holtby

Posted by Dan Fitch

In a week when Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup, there was at least a little bit of good news. On Monday, Lewis Holtby completed his move from Schalke to Spurs, some six-months ahead of schedule.

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Holtby could even make his debut on Wednesday night against Norwich City. Tottenham have been badly in need of some extra creativity in midfield, but I hope that Spurs fans don't expect miracles from the German international immediately.

For every Michu that comes into a new league and hits the ground running, there is a player that takes time to adapt. Even players moving from within the Premier League can struggle to settle sometimes. Just look at the performances of our own Gylfi Sigurdsson this season.

With Sigurdsson still trying to find his form and Clint Dempsey likely to play as a striker, Holtby could well be employed in the attacking midfielder role, with Moussa Dembele and Scott Parker behind him.

That will at least give Holtby the chance to prove his worth in a familiar role, where he has plenty of experience of playing for Schalke. Holtby is a versatile player, who can play on the flanks, as well as a deeper role in central midfield.

The problem for players with versatility though, is that they often get shunted around all over the pitch, rather than being given a chance to settle down in one particular position.

Given the fact that Spurs don't have experienced cover for either Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon on the wings, nor Dembele in the creative central midfield role, then it's fairly likely that Holtby will see plenty of football, but in a variety of positions.

That won't make it easier for him. What will make it easier for Holtby to settle in is his background.

With a father from Liverpool, Holtby will have less adapting to do than many foreign imports. As you would expect, he speaks perfect English, albeit in a strange German/Scouse hybrid accent, of the type that you would expect Joey Barton to adopt if he was ever transferred to the Bundesliga.

He's grown up watching the Premier League and now he gets to play in it. Holtby will also be helped by the fact that the Bundesliga is such a competitive division, that is perhaps closer to the feel of English football than any other league in continental Europe.

Holtby won't be helped by Spurs' issues up front though. Dempsey is now playing very well and scoring plenty of goals, but he hasn't impressed me as a striker, despite his great header against Leeds.

You might remember that Dempsey was playing as a striker when Spurs were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by Norwich at Carrow Road. In that game Tottenham absolutely dominated possession, but couldn't turn that advantage into goals.

I've got a terrible feeling that Tottenham might be in for some sort of repeat performance. If that's the case, then expect some desperate, last-minute transfer activity, as Spurs look to buy a striker. Unlike Holtby, that striker (whoever he is), won't enjoy the luxury of people being patient.

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