When Spurs snapped up Belgian winger Nacer Chadli from FC Twente for £7m only the very informed Tottenham fans knew exactly what they were signing. After a quick examination of his stats and reading a few articles, they learnt that Chadli could certainly do it on a cool night in Holland, but could he do it on a rainy night in Stoke? His performance against Espanyol would begin to suggest that the answer is affirmative.
Chadli burst out of the blocks on Saturday night, linking up well with Danny Rose, Roberto Soldado and Gylfi Sigurdsson whilst displaying his pace and agility in sprinting down the left flank. Although his final ball was lacking on the night, he expressed exuberance, and an energy, that any supporter loves to witness in a new signing. On more than one occasion he left the Espanyol defence wanting the ground to open up beneath them as he embarrassed them with skill moves and pace that we all thought were only visible on FIFA.
The Belgian’s style of play is a perfect fit for the football that has become synonymous with the name Tottenham Hotspur, possessing pace, guile and agility on the left flank. Chadli’s desire to link up with Spanish striker Roberto Soldado was evident on Saturday, attempting to thread passes through to the forward on multiple occasions. Although as mentioned earlier his final pass was often lacking against Espanyol, his stamina, fitness and determination will ensure that he aims to terrorise sides for the whole 90 minutes. He already looks like he would be a superb impact substitute for Spurs if they were seeking a goal.
Nacer Chadli provided a taste of what he can provide the Lilywhites in his home debut on Saturday, displaying the energy and flashes of ability that the home fans loved to witness. Only time will tell if he can nail down a starting role in AVB’s team, but on the basis of this performance he can certainly do a job for Tottenham on the wing.