Five players Tottenham Hotspur should sign

Sports Mole selects five players who could improve Tottenham Hotspur's chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

When they defeated London rivals Arsenal in March, it appeared that Tottenham Hotspur were going to cruise to a Champions League place.

It wasn't to be, though, and a string of dropped points cost Spurs dearly as the Gunners leapfrogged them into fourth spot, relegating Andre Villas-Boas's team to Europa League football in the process.

The Portuguese coach knows that this time around securing a top-four spot will be demanded by the majority of Tottenham supporters. So, with that in mind, Sports Mole has selected five players who could help the Lilywhites reach their goal.

Yuto Nagatomo, Inter Milan

Between 2008 and 2012, Benoit Assou-Ekotto held the left-back position. An injury and the summer arrival of Jan Vertonghen, as well as the emergence of Kyle Naughton, saw the Cameroon international drop down to the bench at times last season.

It has resulted in reports that he could be heading for the White Hart Lane exit door and at the age of 29, it is probably the last opportunity that Spurs have to demand decent money for the defender.

While Vertonghen can play in that role, Villas-Boas opted on occasions to play the Belgian international alongside Michael Dawson in the heart of the back four, which would mean that Spurs are lacking a senior left-footed full-back.

Nagatomo is by no means one of the world's biggest names, but he goes about his work quietly and has emerged as one of the best left-backs in Serie A. He can also play on the right side, which would mean that he could cover any Kyle Walker absence.

He has the ability to get forward, which in turn would allow Gareth Bale, should he play on the left, to cut inside at will. Nagatomo has a similar understanding with Shinji Kagawa at international level with Japan.

Paulinho, Corinthians

You know what you are going to get from a hard working Scott Parker, but there are signs that the Achilles injury that he picked up at Euro 2012 has started to catch up with him. He may never have had any blistering pace, but at times last season it looked as though Gareth Barry would give him a decent race.

At 32, there is no more potential to fulfill and so a replacement is reportedly on boss Villas-Boas's shopping list.

Such has been the form of Paulinho in recent months that he is now a regular in the Brazil midfield. The 24-year-old possesses a real engine and is an old-fashioned box-to-box player.

While his primary job may be to stop the opposition, he has shown at international level that he is capable of finding the net. He scored against England and at the time of writing has two goals in the Confederations Cup.

Speculation has claimed that Spurs have had a £17m offer accepted for his services, so now it is down to personal terms.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Shakhtar Donetsk

Midfielders who score goals on a regular basis are a precious commodity. It's something that Villas-Boas had hoped that Clint Dempsey, Moussa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson would have provided his team, but he no doubt expected more than the 11 Premier League goals that they mustered between them.

Obviously they have Bale, who scores freely, but it is unlikely that the Welshman will be around much longer. Another 12 months perhaps, but after that he could be turning out for Real Madrid.

It may have only been in Ukraine, but Mkhitaryan was even more prolific than Bale last term. He scored 25 times at domestic level and added two further goals in the Champions League.

The Armenian international would provide that link between the deeper midfielders and the centre-forward, which is a vital position, particularly in a 4-5-1 formation.

Christian Benteke, Aston Villa

How many chances does Emmanuel Adebayor want? It seems that he starts well with every club that he joins, but once comfort sets in, his performances dwindle. What's even more frustrating is the fact that the Togo striker has all the credentials to be a top Premier League striker, but he's nowhere near consistent enough.

Consistency is not something that Benteke found hard to come by last season. To be frank, Villa would have been relegated without his 19 goals in the top flight - he scored 23 in all competitions.

Due to his big frame, the young Belgian is able to operate as a lone frontman and also has the ability to feature as a strike partner for the likes of Jermain Defoe.

The presence of a fellow countryman in the form of Vertonghen may also work in Tottenham's favour should they launch a bid.

Villa striker Christian Benteke scores a penalty against Swansea on January 1, 2013© PA Photos

Roberto Soldado, Valencia

It's probably fair to say that a lack of striking options was the major reason behind Tottenham's failure to secure Champions League football. Defoe scored 11 times, while Adebayor could only add five goals.

If, as expected, Adebayor departs, Tottenham need not one but two new centre-forwards.

Benteke would provide a physical presence, but there is more guile about Soldado's play. The Spanish international is quick across the ground and possesses the sort of movement inside the area that is not too dissimilar to Javier Hernandez at Manchester United.

Since he joined Valencia in 2010, the 28-year-old has found the net on 82 occasions from his 141 outings, which has made him a leading contender to be Spain's main striker at next year's World Cup.

The price tag is also likely to appeal to potential suitors as Valencia's financial issues mean that he could be available for around £12m.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas on the touchline during the match against Manchester City on April 21, 2013
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City65102121916
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd65101721516
3Chelsea6411125713
4Tottenham HotspurSpurs6321105511
5Liverpool63211211111
6Watford6321910-111
7Huddersfield TownHuddersfield62315329
8Burnley62316519
9Newcastle UnitedNewcastle63036519
10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom52214408
11Southampton622245-18
12Arsenal521278-17
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton621357-27
14Everton6213411-77
15Swansea CitySwansea612337-45
16Stoke CityStoke6123510-55
17Leicester CityLeicester6114912-34
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham6114613-74
19Bournemouth6105411-73
20Crystal Palace6006013-130
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