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Tottenham Hotspur have enjoyed a remarkable transformation under Antonio Conte. The Italian is a born winner and is now looking forward to a huge first full season at Spurs.
Conte joined the north London outfit in November 2021, taking over from Nuno Espirito Santo, who was removed from his role after a poor start to the 2021/22 campaign. The enigmatic Italian was, however, on hand to calm things down, steering the club to fourth spot in the Premier League.
There were fears that, despite such a successful spell, his time at the club could be over as quickly as it began, mainly due to a lack of resources. But as the current transfer window is proving, Spurs have more than enough funds to strengthen in all areas.
Busy summer for Conte's Spurs
It’s undoubtedly an exciting time to be a Spurs supporter. The big-money signatures of Yves Bissouma and Richarlison have unsurprisingly got fans talking the most.
Whether or not the former will have to battle it out between Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojberg for regular playing time in midfield remains to be seen. The latter meanwhile, despite his huge fee, will most certainly be forced to compete for regular minutes, simply due to the club’s options going forward, but more on that later…
But perhaps one signing that may have just slipped under the radar is that of Ivan Perisic. The hugely experienced Croatian has seen it all, and importantly has previously worked under Conte during their time at Inter Milan.
Knowing the boss likes to rely heavily on attacking wing-backs, Perisic, at 33, will have his work cut out. But he is already very familiar with the role. Perisic and fellow wing-back Emerson Royal may just be standouts for the club this season, given just how important the positions are to Conte’s style of play.
Another smart signing is that of goalkeeper Fraser Forster on a free transfer, with the substitute keeper set to fill the gap left by Pierluigi Gollini, who has returned to Italy after his loan spell in England.
The loan signing of Barcelona centre-back Clement Lenglet meanwhile proves just how much pull Conte has in the transfer market and shows his intentions for the season ahead. The French international will most certainly help shore things up at the back.
The unlucky ones
As for those leaving the club, it’s clear that Conte is not afraid of cutting ties with anyone, regardless of their stature. The boss allowed Dele Alli to leave in January, with the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso leaving on loan. The duo have since returned, but both have been left out of the club’s pre-season tour of South Korea.
Joining them are Sergio Reguilon and Harry Winks, which suggests they will find it very difficult to have a future in north London. All four have been linked with summer exits, and could very much follow in the footsteps of the recently departed Steven Bergwijn and Cameron Carter-Vickers.
Joe Rodon and Matt Doherty, who rarely featured under Conte in the league, could also be facing the exit door. Youngster Bryan Gil will also need to resolve his future soon, with the Spaniard perhaps set for another loan deal this season.
Deadly duo up top remain key
With 69 goals scored last time out – beaten only by Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea – Spurs were in fine form in the final third. That said, their total was still 30 goals behind the eventual champions. The north London outfit will, therefore, need to slightly up their game if they have any hope of toppling the big guns of English football.
Thankfully, Conte has a special weapon on his hands in the form of Son Heung-Min. The South Korean was sensational in the previous campaign, sharing the Premier League Golden Boot with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah with 23 goals. Incredibly, none of those 23 strikes of Son’s came from the penalty spot.
His pace both on and off the ball is electrifying, and he has been a superb outlet for the team when they need to relieve some pressure. He is excellent at running onto passes over the top.
While Spurs are grateful for their elite attacker, it must be made clear just how important his fellow forward Harry Kane is. The lethal striker’s presence simply cannot be overlooked, and keeping him at the club – amid interest from many top sides – is perhaps the best business Spurs will do this summer. Conte will be key to ensuring his hitman goes nowhere.
Kane has been the club’s top scorer in all competitions for eight successive seasons now, hitting 27 last time out. It’s a phenomenal record, and he will be keen to continue that form in the new campaign.
There is, of course, the added bonus that Son and Kane are capable of forming a deadly partnership. Their feats are now well documented, with the two sharing a like-minded approach to goalscoring.
Super Spurs attacking options
Importantly, Son and Kane are now not alone. As mentioned, Brazilian Richarlison has joined the team, and will be eager to make his mark early. It does, however, look like he will have to settle for a spot on the bench in the opening weeks, with Son and Dejan Kulusevski more than likely to sit behind Kane in Conte’s front three.
But the former Everton man is versatile and will be ready to pounce should a spot in the starting XI open up, whether that is in a central role or out wide. Spurs are also back in the big time in Europe, and with the domestic cups on offer, Richarlison could quickly become a hugely important member of the squad.
Kulusevski meanwhile needs no introduction. The Swede, who remains on loan from Juventus for another year, scored five goals and chipped in with eight assists after arriving from the Serie A outfit in January.
And youngsters Troy Parrott and Dane Scarlett – if they aren’t loaned out for the season – will be waiting in the wings. Their potential presence in the likes of the League Cup and FA Cups could save Conte’s main men from getting fatigued in what is to be a long campaign.