Tottenham Hotspur appear to have dodged a bullet when failing to sign Gift Orban in the summer, as the Nigerian is now struggling at Gent and is no longer a guaranteed starter.
Tottenham were linked with several strikers during the summer transfer window as Bayern Munich stepped up their pursuit of talisman Harry Kane. Possible replacements included Jonathan David, Romelu Lukaku, Aleksandar Mitrovic and Randal Kolo Muani.
While Bayern eventually managed to sign Kane for an initial £86million, Tottenham did not actually bring in a true No 9 to replace him. This has forced Ange Postecoglou to use winger Son Heung-min there.
Son has done well at centre-forward, backing up his role as Spurs captain by notching eight goals in 13 Premier League games. However, it is clear that if Spurs are to reach the next level under Postecoglou, then they need a true striker to join and take up Kane’s mantle.
Another striker Spurs were linked with in the summer is Orban. He was in blistering form last season, registering 20 goals in just 22 appearances. This, coupled with the fact he is still only 21 years old, saw Spurs land on him as a top target.
But Spurs instead opted to wait until a future transfer window to sign Kane’s replacement. And their decision to snub Orban has now been justified.
While he has notched 11 goals in 21 games this season, a majority of those strikes came early on in the campaign.
In recent weeks, Orban has had to settle for a place on the bench, with Gent manager Hein Vanhaezebrouck preferring to use the likes of Tarik Tissoudali and Hugo Cuypers up front.
Former Tottenham striker target struggling
Orban has only managed one goal in his last nine league outings, too, which is a significant downturn on his form from last season.
Belgian source Voetbal Nieuws have now provided a report looking at the youngster’s situation. They reveal that it is not just his lack of goals which Vanhaezebrouck is concerned about, as the manager has also become frustrated by Orban’s poor defensive work rate.
Vanhaezebrouck is one of the most attacking coaches in Belgium, and it seems Orban no longer fits into his style. As Postecoglou is similarly attacking with his tactics at Spurs, Orban may have struggled in North London if he’d have joined, too.
In the eyes of Vanhaezebrouck and senior Gent officials, Orban is ‘no longer top drawer’, despite his exceptional scoring rate last season.
Due to these concerning factors, Spurs made the right move when deciding not to bid for him in the summer. Instead, Postecoglou and Spurs are leaning towards Santiago Gimenez, who is thriving at Feyenoord.
This term, the Argentina-born Mexico international has managed a stunning 18 goals in just 17 games, making him one of the most prolific strikers in Europe.
Plus, as Gimenez is only one year older than Orban at 22, he would be able to provide Spurs with plenty of years of service.