Squawka Scouting Report: Why Zakaria Bakkali could be just what Spurs need

Zakaria Bakkali created 13 chances during the 2013/14 season.

It’s all change at Tottenham Hotspur once again this summer under yet another managerial chance and new head coach Mauricio Pochettino is looking to stamp his mark on the squad to return the essence of flair to White Hart Lane.

There are certain areas of the Spurs squad that need addressing urgently in order for the club to achieve the ambitions of their chairman and one of those is their creativity going forward, with PSV man Zakaria Bakkali having emerged as a Spurs target to beef up their offensive options.

Squawka has taken a look at the youngster to see just how he could be of use for Spurs in their push to qualify for the Champions League again.

Where Does He Play?

Bakkali plays as an attacking winger at PSV Eindhoven, with his exciting drive going forward having already earned him a call-up to the Belgian national side at the age of just 18.

Bakkali’s made 16 league appearances for PSV last season.

In his first full season as a professional with the Dutch giants, Bakkali has made 16 appearances in total, as PSV used him more at as an impact substitute to throw on and exploit tired legs, with his pace proving to be a valuable asset.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Bakkali’s main strength is his pace and direct style of play, with his ability to take on his man key to his effectiveness on the flanks.

Bakkali’s duel success, Eredivisie 2013/14.

Despite being reduced to a mainly substitute role, with the youngster completing 90 minutes just once over the last season, Bakkali managed to to complete 24 take-ons in 16 appearances, with 65% of his attempts to beat his man coming off successfully.

Bakkali’s shot map, Eredivisie 2013/14.

Bakkali also helped the attacking line up creatively, in fashioning 13 chances in his limited time on the field and scoring three times with an impressive 80% shot accuracy.

However, going forward is where his strengths are limited to, with his defensive work needing some serious work to ensure he can be a real team player, with the Moroccan-born winger having won just five of his 17 tackles and lost every single one of his headed duels for PSV.

He also has severe questions over his attitude as well, with his involvement in the second half of the season being somewhat non-existent as PSV grew tired of his selfish demeanour and dropped him out of the squad in the hope that he can turn himself around.

Where Does He Fit Into Spurs’ System?

Spurs have been flushed with central midfielders, but they were slightly lacking on the flanks, with Christian Eriksen spending the majority of his first season in England shunted out onto the left-hand side of the midfield.

Aaron Lennon endured a poor season on the other side while Andros Townsend was unable to make much of an impact either having failed to assist a single goal and scoring just the one fluke all campaign.

At 18 years of age, Bakkali will not expect to be a first team regular at White Hart Lane, but he would provide that ideal impact sub for Spurs that they have perhaps been lacking since Jermain Defoe left the club in February.

Stand Out Stat

Bakkali’s pass success, Eredivisie 2013/14.

Zakaria Bakkali completed 90% of his passes for PSV last season.

Memorable Moment

Zakaria Bakkali’s home debut for PSV could not have gone any better, as he scored a fantastic hat-trick against NEC in the second game of the season.

In his one full game in the Eredivisie, Bakkali stole the show to become the youngest ever player in the Dutch league to score a hat-trick and prove to the world that the hype is to be believed.


Bakkali will cost Tottenham in the region of £5million to secure, which, given that Manchester United are looking at paying £27m for Luke Shaw, appears something of a bargain price for a potentially gifted starlet.

With prices continually rising for teenage stars, Spurs could potentially be getting one of the hottest prospects in world football at a bargain price, though his off-field demeanour may be a cause for concern, even at that snip of a fee.

Final Verdict

Bakkali could go either way, as although there is a huge amount of talent in the young Belgian, there is also the potential for complete mental combustion – in the same way Ravel Morrison has seen his career regularly dip.

There is no doubt Bakkali has the ability to be one of the finest players in the game, but his personality comes with a major risk, as he could prove a very disruptive member of the squad.

At just £5m however, this is a risk Spurs should look to take, as he could provide that thrust going forward as an impact sub, giving Pochettino’s side that added change they lacked so badly last season.

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Sam Parker


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