With the Evening Standard reporting that we could look to make a move for Red Bull Salzburg striker Hee-chan Hwang, it seems like the club are having another go at getting a suitable understudy for Harry Kane.
Fernando Llorente’s stay with us is likely to come to an end after just one disappointing season in the summer with Athletic Bilbao his likely destination. Vincent Janssen meanwhile will return from his loan spell at Fenerbahce but he is also likely to be moved on.
Suffice to say that we have yet to find the right player, with the right skillset and mentality that can fill in when needed if our no.10 is sidelined.
It is a difficult role to fill. Strikers thrive off rhythm, and the more games they play in a row, the more likely they are to hit a rich vein of form. Having 10/20 minutes to impress once or twice a week, and a full 90 mins perhaps once a month in a cup competition is not ideal.
Certain players, most notably Ole Gunnar Solksjaer and to a lesser extent Olivier Giroud, are capable of making the impact when summoned from the bench. Such players don’t really tend to have any common denominators in their physical qualities or technical ability. Much of it is in the head.
As you can imagine scouting for such a player is a very tricky endeavour. You could look for players who have a great number of goals as a substitute, but then you may not be looking just at quality players.
Usually, if a player is good enough, they will be a regular starter for their club side and are rarely used from the bench. There are likely few statistics to tell you how they’d cope with long spells out of the starting eleven.
Similarly, a player is likely only to be a regular substitute if they are deemed not good enough to start. In some senses then you just have to be lucky to find a striker who has that killer instinct in front of goal no matter the game time they have been afforded during the season.
It’s always a worry when Harry gets injured simply because of the lack of a solid backup. For sure, we have players that can fill in but our attacking threat is blunted somewhat.
Finding that forward who contributes both in Kane’s absence, and when we need him as an impact sub, could push us to a different level. Whether we’ll find one, we’ll have to wait and see.