Football News

Willian José to Spurs transfer news, playing style and how Jose Mourinho’s attack could line up

By Steve Jennings

Willian Jose to Spurs news and analysis

Published: 17:07, 23 January 2020

Tottenham are in talks with Real Sociedad over a deal for striker Willian José, according to reports.

Harry Kane’s hamstring injury has left Spurs without a recognised centre-forward, a crucial role in José Mourinho’s system.

Spurs to sign Willian José? Five things to know…

  • “Do we need a striker? Yeah, if possible, yes,” José Mourinho told reporters last week amid concerns about a lack of goals without Harry Kane.
  • Spurs are ‘in talks’ with Real Sociedad over Willian José, according to the Guardian, who say the Londoners want to negotiate a lower fee than his £59m release clause.
  • José was left out of Sociedad’s squad for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey victory over Espanyol, with the club confirming the 28-year-old Brazilian has asked to be omitted “until his situation is clarified”.
  • On Tottenham’s striker hunt, Mourinho added: “If it’s possible, we are doing everything possible and it’s not easy but we are trying to add that player to the squad.”
  • Spurs had not scored a league goal in 2020 until Wednesday’s 2-1 home win against Norwich City when Dele Alli and Son Heung-min struck either side of half-time.

Willian José’s style of play – and how Spurs could use him

During Kane’s absence, the players who usually support Tottenham’s talismanic striker – Dele Alli, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min – have played in a fluid front free, rotating between performing as the focal point and staffing wide areas. It hasn’t been very effective. Spurs had failed to score a league goal in 2020 until Alli and Son struck against Norwich on Wednesday.

Other than Kane, Alli is arguably the senior player closest to resembling a centre-forward. But Mourinho needs him in the No.10 role, which is why signing a new striker is so important. Step forward Willian José, who is an out-and-out striker, rather than another Son or Lucas Moura – forwards, yes, but not Kane-esque target men.

Indeed, Willian José would be filling in for Kane. That means he must be the focal point of the side’s attack, generally being the highest player on the pitch (though he may drop deep at times to receive the ball and bring in other attackers) and providing the primary goal threat. The Brazilian hit double figures in terms of La Liga goals in each of the previous three seasons and has found the net eight times in 20 appearances so far this term.

Though not quite as clinical as Kane, Willian José clearly knows where the goal is, a craft he has honed at Sociedad following the inconsistent early years of his career. With no assists this season, however, there is the concern that he will not be able to replicate Kane’s creative side. That said, the England captain provided just two Premier League assists this term before his injury.

Regardless of his specific similarities to Kane, Willian José will undoubtedly play in the same role. As suggested by the Football Index stats graphic – which provides a rough visual guide to playing style – Willian José attempts fewer dribbles and registers fewer shots on target than Kane. But of course, Spurs were always going to find it difficult to sign a player who can precisely mirror Kane’s best attributes.

And in any case, Mourinho will be able to revert to the more rigid attacking system he deployed when first appointed, with Alli as a No.10, Lucas Moura and Son on the flanks and a recognised striker through the middle.

It’s also worth noting that Willian José’s Football Index price has risen by 59.21% over the last 24 hours following strong links with a move to Spurs.

You have to be 18+ to gamble. For more information, go to Player prices accurate at the time of writing (13:00, 23/12/2020).