Lewis Holtby – Too Slow and Too Small

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January 10, 2013 by Scott Rosie

Lewis Holtby

With the January transfer window well under way one of the best deals of the window so far may not come to fruition until the summer. FC Schalke’s prized asset Lewis Holtby has agreed a £67,000 a week deal with Tottenham Hotspur and will move to the North London side on a free transfer at the start of the summer transfer window after failing to sign a new contract with the German club.

The fact Tottenham managed to beat their fierce rivals Arsenal to the youngster’s signature has been well documented however they also managed to oust Liverpool, Everton, Valencia and Inter Milan to the midfielder. He said his reason for choosing Spurs over the four other clubs reported to be interested in him was due to how highly he rates their manager, Andre Villas-Boas. He said “[Tottenham] are not a small club and have an insanely good manager.” While the free transfer will take place in the summer Holtby may yet make the move to London

Whether Spurs sign him on a free or for a small fee this transfer is a very good deal with a low risk and a potentially high reward for Tottenham. If Holtby excels at Tottenham they will have signed a this month if Spurs agree to pay FC Schalke a fee, reported to be around £1.6 million.

brilliant player for virtually nothing with a massive resell value. If the move doesn’t work out the worst case scenario for Spurs would be that Holtby is sold for a relatively decent fee which would probably cover any potential transfer fee and wages. Holtby himself may see this as an opportunity to show his quality and move onto one of Europe’s elite teams just as past Spurs players such as Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Carrick, Robbie Keane and most recently Luka Modric have done.

The good news for Spurs fans is that this signing doesn’t signal that Gareth Bale will soon be added to that list of quality players that have left White Hart Lane. He isn’t a natural replacement for Bale, while Holtby has been known to play on the wing he is primarily a central midfield player who likes to drift out wide. This would mean he could link-up well with the Welshman and compliment his abilities instead of being the player to replace them. With Bale showing a tendency to cut inside Jan Vertonghen has been left with the responsibility of being Tottenham’s sole left footed player out wide with Benoit Assou-Ekotto still out injured. Holtby is left footed however, he could use his nous on the wing and quality delivery to good effect when Bale comes inside. The German has already shown he can play well behind a big striker in Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and could link well with Emmanuel Adebayor, or 6 foot 2” Brazilian front man Leandro Damiao whom Spurs have long been linked with.

Holtby has struggled to break into the German national team.

“He has decided to go this way (to England), so now everybody waits to see how he adapts. But certainly he has the ability and the technical quality. What he needs in England is the physical quality too and that will be where the question mark sits when he arrives there”, said Eberl.While it looks as though Holtby could be fit in well at Tottenham Borussia Monchengladbach’s sporting director, Max Eberl, raised concerns about the former Die Fohlen youth player’s ability to adapt to the English game due to his lack of physical attributes.

Eberl also denied that Holtby was dismissed by Monchengladbach from their academy due to being ‘too slow and too small’ in 2005 after recruiting Marko Marin, who is now also in London with Chelsea and is of a similar age and position to Holtby.

“Lewis played for us until he was 15 and then we brought in Marko Marin and he decided to move on to another academy. But now both players will play in the Premier League next season, so we can only take pride in that.”

While it is true that Holtby is a fairly lightweight player and stands at only 5 foot 7” he has the technical abilities to fit into the Premier League and players such as David Silva and former White Hart Lane star Luka Modric will tell you that is the most important factor.

Although small in stature Holtby is certainly capable of winning the ball himself and playing as a centre midfielder rather than just off of the front man. While ex-Bundesliga man Shinji Kagawa, who has had a tough start to life in the Premiership featuring in only 8 of United’s 21 league games thus far, prefers to receive the ball from midfield players Holtby has played as a deep-lying midfielder himself. Holtby featured in the role under Huub Stevens but has since been moved behind Huntelaar this season by new Die Knappen manager Jens Keller, he is a player who is capable of finding the ball himself if there is a lack of supply coming his way.

Despite being capable of playing in a variety of different midfield roles Holtby hasn’t managed to force himself into a regular spot on the German national team since making his debut under Joachim Low in 2010. The likes of Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Thomas Muller and Andre Schurrle have blocked Holtby’s path into the Die Mannschaft first team. It is unlikely Holtby is regretting his decision to choose his birth country of Germany over his Evertonian father’s homeland of England. Holtby is continuing to make progress with the Under-21 side and is set to captain the German youth side at the Under-21 European Championships this summer in Israel.


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