Tottenham Hotspur are reportedly one of the four frontrunners for the signature of in demand Schalke 04 player Sead Kolasniac. Many clubs had been looking to take advantage of the Bosnian’s contract situation — his current deal expires in June — to land themselves a bargain, but Daniel Levy has muscled his way to front of the queue.
Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion and even Barcelona had been linked with the player but recent reports name Spurs, Chelsea Inter Milan and Juventus as his four possible destinations.
German newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung report that the player’s agent, Gordon Stipic, has indicated the player will decide on his future in the next three weeks.
“I have taken note of Mr Heidel's statement, but I have my own opinion.”
“We will make a decision soon.”
Stipic’s public comments on his client's future come after it as revealed that Schalke had offered Kolasinac a significant increase on his current £33,000-per-week wages and the club's sporting executive, Christian Heidel, said the player needs to make a “timely decision” to ensure he can properly focus over the coming months.
WAZ go on to claim Spurs will rival champions elect Chelsea for the Germany-born left-back. But do they really need him?
What could the arrival of Kolasinac mean for Spurs?
With Ben Davies reportedly being a target for both Manchester City and Crystal Palace, Mauricio Pochettino is in the market for a left-back this summer. It would be easy to assume the Welshman's potential sale is why the club are looking at Kolasinac, but the real reason may be much more sinister.
Given the fact he will be joining on a free transfer it’s likely Kolasinac will demand a substantial wage. Joel Matip left Schalke in the summer on a free transfer to join Liverpool and his management was able to negotiate a deal which sees him paid close to £100,000 per week. It may very well be a similar story with the the former Hoffenheim youngster.
Spurs have a strict wage structure in place and they would be reluctant to agree such a deal with the player if he wasn’t going to be a starter. They aren’t in a position to have a player earning £90,000 a week sat on their bench. Not when Davies is taking home just a third of that.
Furthermore, with such fierce competition for his signature it’s highly unlikely the 23-year-old would join the club to be the back-up option to Danny Rose.
With that in mind, would Kolasinac’s arrival see the departure of Rose? England’s starting left-back has been linked with moves to both Manchester clubs and this could be the club eyeing up his potential replacement.
It’s no easy task finding someone with the quality to replace arguably the best left-back in Europe, on current form at least, but if any player has the potential to fill a Rose shaped hole in the team it’s Kolasinac.
READ MORE: ARE KYLE WALKER AND DANNY ROSE THE BEST FULL-BACKS IN ENGLAND?
What Kolasinac does well
When identifying a potential replacement you need to make sure they share a similar playing profile. Spurs would have looked at what Rose does well and which of his strengths the team relies on to function effectively before attempting to match those to an attainable target.
The 26-year-old is what many consider to be the perfect modern day full-back. He’s not too shabby as a wing-back either.
He’s managed to balance the attacking side of the game with the defensive, as well as being inventive, expressive and creative with his passing and thought process. The former Leeds United youth prospect is able to execute a mixture of short and long passes. One of his greatest traits, though, is just how incisive his runs are.
Many full-backs overlap and offer the width, but Rose has mastered the overlap which he then arcs to really get in behind the oppositions full-back and transforms him from a crossing threat into a goalscoring one. It’s something Kolasinac does so well too, in both the full-back and the wing-back roles.
Statistically, the pair aren’t too dissimilar. Rose completes 2.8 tackles and 1.2 interceptions per game compared to Kolasinac’s 2.8 tackles and 3.8 interceptions. The Bosnian comes out on top in aerial duels won (2.3 to 1.5) as well as assists (four to two).
It’s Rose who triumphs in passes attempted and pass completion as well as dribbles completed. It’s also worth noting here that the Schalke player has spent the majority of this season in a wing-back/midfield role, so he’s expected to have better goal involvement figures.
In the modern game, it's becoming more and more crucial for teams to have players at their disposal who have the ability and the desire to run in behind and look to exploit any space.
So often you find players wanting the ball to feet as they look to create something out of nothing, when sometimes just good old off-the-ball movement is all that's needed to unlock a team looking to defend.
In the picture above, Köln have a line of four defenders on their 18-yard line, yet a superb threaded ball is matched by an incisive Kolasinac run and cuts them wide open. The home side go from having eight players behind the ball to scrambling to cut out a cross from inside the penalty area in a matter of seconds.
He calmly pulls the ball back, showing his composure in the final third, and Schalke are unfortunate not to score.
It's a similar story against German giants Bayern Munich. Kolasinac is circled and he could just follow the white arrow and look to go down the line and get the cross in, but instead he angles his run so he gets in behind centrally. Bayern go from looking comfortable and well organised to being extremely stretched.
All because of the off-the-ball run. Spurs are often narrow in attack and look to flood the penalty area with players so Kolasinac would have his pick of team-mates to roll the ball to throughout the match.
In a Pochettino system it's important to be a grafter. The starting XI don't carry anybody and everybody is expected to put in a shift. In the pictures above you see Kolasinac's pace and his desire to win the ball back high up the pitch.
He's circled in the initial picture offering support down the left, but Darmstadt win possession back. With so many orange shirts in close proximity, there is a chance the away side could work the ball quickly and start a counter-attack. But before they've been able to make one pass, the attack has been stopped by the Schalke no.6, and he once again gets them on the attack in the final third.
He looks perfectly suited to the Spurs system but he's far from perfect. Though, under the guidance of Pochettino, he could well be one of the best full-backs in the world in a few years.
He would have the potential to be one of the shrewdest signings in the history of the club. It may not be what Spurs fans want to hear, but cashing in on Rose and bringing in Kolasinac on a free could be an inspired piece of business.