Tottenham finally announced the signing of Richarlison and Clement Lenglet and Djed Spence may not be far behind.
But how will these three players actually improve Spurs in the 2022/23 season?
Perhaps the most important thing to mention is the change of rules from last season to the next, plus Tottenham’s change of situation.
In the Premier League, teams will now be allowed to name nine-man benches and make a maximum of five substitutions, compared to the standard three last year. That means that squad depth is going to come into play a lot more in the new campaign.
One thing Conte was rumoured to be frustrated about last year was his lack of options on the bench to change games, with the likes of Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn often being the only late subs we saw.
Conte also seemed to find his preferred XI in the latter months of the campaign and stuck to it rigidly, which would normally not be feasible across an entire season and four different competitions.
Remember, Tottenham are in the Champions League now… that presents a whole different rotational challenge.
Many have questioned whether Richarlison will even make it into Tottenham’s strongest XI despite his £60m fee. Those people have missed the point entirely.
When Liverpool signed Diogo Jota or Luis Diaz, it wasn’t a question of whether they would fit into the XI, it was a clear attempt to add depth and rotation.
Look at Manchester City, they had Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling who could play at left-wing, but still signed Jack Grealish to add even more depth.
✅ Ivan Perišić (free)
✅ Fraser Forster (free)
✅ Yves Bissouma (£25m)
✅ Richarlison (£60m)
🔜 Clément Lenglet (loan)
🔜 Djed Spence (£20m)
Some serious depth in the Spurs squad – #thfc mean business this year! ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/HIVNYknwIp
— FansBet (@FansBet) July 1, 2022
While I am not Richarlison’s biggest fan, he is able to play at left-wing, right-wing, or as a striker. That means he can be rotated in to give any of Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, or Dejan Kulusevski a rest.
It also means that if one forward is out of form, they can be pushed by a direct replacement. It also gives Conte the flexibility to play with two up front in a 3-5-2 if he wants.
So, the answer to whether Richarlison will be in the first XI is actually – Conte does not want a first XI, he wants a strong squad from top to bottom.
Moving on to Clement Lenglet and a number of the same questions can be raised. Is he better than what Tottenham have already got?
Man-for-man, maybe not, but he adds extra depth to multiple positions, as he can cover the left-centre-back or central sweeper roles.
Yes, a loan may be underwhelming, but I see the sense from Spurs. They get an experienced player in without having to spend much money, thus allowing them to allocate funds elsewhere and move for their top targets in January or next summer.
If Conte really wanted Alessandro Bastoni or Josko Gvardiol, and no other big-name left-centre-backs (of which there are few) took his fancy, then why would Spurs spend £40m/£50m on a player their manager doesn’t really want.
It’s frustrating not to get your top targets, but it makes perfect sense to fill a gap in the squad with an inexpensive player if you want to save your money and go for Bastoni/Gvardiol again in the near future. The perfect transfer window does not exist.
Finally, Djed Spence, the one that continues to rumble on and on.
In my opinion, it is likely that Spence will be used in tandem with Matt Doherty at right-wing-back next season.
He will add a lot of pace, energy, and directness to the flank, which matches up nicely with the experience of Doherty – much like Perisic and Sessegnon on the other side.
The future of Emerson Royal remains up in the air, but he just does not seem at home in the right-wing-back role.
Spence could be a great investment for the future, and also for that all-important squad depth.
For the first time in years, Tottenham could finally have two class options per position… maybe more!
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