The breakthrough season Harry Kane had at Tottenham Hotspur last season was nothing short of incredible, and in the process the other striker options at Spurs kind of fell by the wayside, at least in the Premier League. With a lack of first-team minutes at a crucial point in his career, Roberto Soldado has moved on this transfer window, sealing a move to Villarreal in La Liga.
That move left the London club with only Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor as senior-level strikers, and with rumo(u)rs swirling about Ade also leaving the club, a replacement was in short order. Enter Clinton N'Jie, the 22 year-old former Lyon striker, who signed for Tottenham last week.
I reached out to Bryan A. from SBNation's awesome Tottenham blog, Cartilage Free Captain, to get his thoughts on the arrival of the new striker and his potential to shake things up from a fantasy perspective. My questions are in bold, with Bryan's detailed answers below:
What can you tell us about the type of player Clinton N'Jie is?
Clinton N'jie is a second striker/wide forward. He can play all across the forward line and will probably be asked to do so for Tottenham Hotspur. Clinton's game centers largely around his pace and his ability to beat his defender 1 v. 1. He took on and beat his defender more often than almost anyone in Ligue 1 last season (on a per 90 minute basis) and I don't expect that to change.
With the emergence of Harry Kane last season, we didn't see much of the now-departed Roberto Soldado. Will N'Jie see significant playing time in the Premier League?
I think Clinton will play some, but I would expect it to be mostly in cup competitions and as a substitute, which will really limit his value to fantasy players. He played mostly as a sub last season at Lyon though and still managed 9 goals and 8 assists.So we know he has the ability to come in and impact the game as a sub. I will say, however, that most of his goals came in garbage time against weak opposition when Lyon was already well ahead. He probably won't get as many of those kind of minutes at Spurs, just because Spurs are rarely that far out front. His minutes will likely be more on the order of coming on as an additional striker when Spurs are chasing the game.
Is there a possibility for both Kane and N'Jie to be on the pitch at the same time, or will Pochettino stick to a 1-striker setup?
If there's one thing we've learned about Pochettino, it's that he's an ideologue. He'll stick to his system no matter what. That said, both could play together, but if they do Clinton won't be an out-and-out striker. He'll play in the hole behind Kane or out wide. He was much less effective when played out wide for Lyon. He really succeeded there when partnered with Alexandre Lacazette. Kane and Lacazette are fairly different players, but both are highly skilled and good finishers. If Clinton can get minutes with Harry Kane, I think that is where he will find the most success.
Is there any chance of Kane and N'Jie being rotated in the starting lineup?
Not in the league. I think it's incredibly unlikely that Clinton steals starts from Kane in the league. I expect him to see more playing time in the Europa League or the Capital One Cup. Clinton seems much more likely to steal minutes from Nacer Chadli or whoever is preferred at right midfield (currently Mousa Dembele).
Care to make a prediction on how many goals/assists he'll contribute in the Premier League this season?
A lot really depends on where and when Spurs utilize Clinton. In just the league, I don't want to set the bar too high, but I don't think it's unreasonable to think that he could chip in 4 or 5 goals with a similar number of assists. Now, if he's given an extended run in the team, there's a possibility that those numbers could push higher, but he has a lot of work to do to force his way into the starting XI.
Many thanks to Bryan for helping shed some light on N'Jie, and for helping us understand that Kane's starting role doesn't seem to be under threat any time soon. For you Tottenham fans, if you're not already following along, check out Cartilage Free Captain on Twitter. You won't be disappointed. Finally, here's a video compilation for any of you looking for a more in-depth look at how N'Jie plays and where he may fit in with Spurs: