Where will summer transfer Richarlison fit into the starting eleven at Tottenham?
One of the biggest summer transfer deals between Premier League clubs was Richarlison leaving Everton to join Tottenham. The Brazilian forward played a huge part in keeping the Toffees safe from the drop last term.
But in the forthcoming season, he will be stepping into the line-up of a team that will be expecting to deliver a top-four finish. It will therefore be a much different challenge that he faces in the 2022/23 campaign. How and where will Richarlison fit into the Tottenham line-up?
Richarlison’s role at Tottenham
One of the big question marks over players making a transfer is how they are going to fit into a new team. It’s a step out of the familiarity and into the unknown. Different managers have different styles and tactical approaches. There’s no guarantee that players are going to be used in the same way at a new club.
Richarlison’s move to London is not looking like a straightforward move in terms of him fulfilling the same role that he was at Everton. For the Toffees he was playing up front. The Brazilian carried the can of goalscoring responsibility in a season where the Toffees had lost Dominic Calvert-Lewin for a long period because of injury.
But Richarlison could face a tricky situation in North London of stepping in to lead the line. That’s because of England captain Harry Kane. Where is the Brazilian going to make his mark in the Tottenham line-up?
The Kane conundrum
Harry Kane is Tottenham’s main man up front. The former Premier League and World Cup Golden Boot winner is going to be the first choice in attack. A fit Harry Kane is the first name on the team sheet by boss Antonio Conte. That goes without question.
So Richarlison is not moving to Spurs to be a direct replacement for Kane. That’s despite being able to play as the main striker. There is no way that Richarlison is going to push Kane out of the line-up. So that will limit Richarlison’s position within the Tottenham team. More likely than not, he is going to be used as a wider player.
Richarlison has spent time on the left wing before with Everton. He slotted in there at times for Everton last season, and still looked like their biggest threat in front of goal. But that is a role which Son Heung-min has occupied a lot for Tottenham.
The Kane & Son show has at times, been spectacular for Tottenham. They have developed something of a telepathic understanding. Son plays off of Kane’s link-up play superbly and the South Korean international tallied 23 league goals for Tottenham last season. That was six more than Kane managed.
Between them, Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min combined for 40 Premier League goals. That’s a tremendous output. The next highest scorer for them in the top flight last term was Swedish forward Dejan Kulusevski with five.
So with that tremendous output, there is not likely to be any temptation by Antonio Conte to break up that winning formula. So where does that leave Richarlison? If Conte goes for all three, it could mean Richarlison plying his trade from the right and coming in off of his wing.
But of course, that’s all assuming that Harry Kane is fit for the season. There is always that chance that he goes down at some point. That makes the purchase of Richarlison an even savvier piece of business. Although he probably isn’t going to be the first-choice starting striker, if Kane’s not available, they have in Richarlison, a player who can fill the role seamlessly. If turn if Son is out, Richarlison could slide over to his preferred left-hand side.
Two strikers for Spurs?
At Everton, Richarlison played alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin up front. Would Antonio Conte be tempted into playing two strikers? A partnership up top of Kane and Richarlison? It looks unlikely. Kane leading the line supported by wide players is going to likely be the plan.
But in the times during matches when they are chasing games, it could be an option and it’s another big asset for Richarlison. Richarlison and Kane could be paired up front with a few long balls and crosses fired towards them. Everything about this deal looks like a smart one for Tottenham because of the Brazilian’s versatility.
With the Premier League recently making the announcement that clubs will be able to five subs this season, that’s another boost. It’s a rule that could be seen as an advantage for the bigger clubs. Teams like Spurs who can clearly now load both the starting XI and the bench, can really play with their options.
Kulusevski complicates things further
The addition of Richarlison to the Tottenham ranks is another big tool in their arsenal of attacking options. Dejan Kulusevski joined Tottenham in January 2022 and will be at the club until next summer on loan.
The Juventus youngster was a great addition to Tottenham’s attacking squad over the second half of the previous Premier League campaign. He gave them a bit of X-Factor quality, someone who could make things happen.
Kulusevski had 13 goal contributions for Tottenham last season in the Premier League. So he chipped in superbly well with both goals and assists. As part of their loan deal for the player, Tottenham will have a chance to assign him on a permanent basis. So there is a big season ahead for the Swede.
It means that he is going to be vying for playing time as well. Plus there is also Lucas Moura who operates out wide. So there is going to be plenty of competition at Tottenham next season. It gives head coach Antonio Conte a very nice problem to solve.
Extra load for Spurs in the UEFA Champions League
The weight of their attacking options is going to be crucial for Spurs in the forthcoming season. That’s because they landed a top-four finish in last season’s Premier League. So Tottenham have extra assignments this season in the UEFA Champions League.
That may well have been a big motivating factor for Richarlison’s move to Tottenham as well. It will be Tottenham’s first crack at the competition since the 2019/20 season. Spurs qualified from the Group stage on that occasion but lost in the Round of 16 4-0 on aggregate against Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.
Because of the big midweek Champions League fixtures, Conte needs the extra quality in depth to be able to handle the load. There is a lot more coming Tottenham’s way in the 2022/23 season.
Richarlison a key domestic Cup Presence
Back on the domestic scene, Richarlison’s proven ability to play as an out-and-out lone striker is going to be great for Conte on FA Cup or EFL Cup days. It means that Kane can be rested for bigger assignments.
That’s where Richarlison’s playing time could get a boost, alongside Kulusevski and Lucas Moura. That would leave Kane and Son with a chance to get a breather here and there. All in all, Tottenham are shaping up very well in the attacking department.
The path to Tottenham by Richarlison
Born in Nova Venecia in Brazil, Richarlison’s career started at America-MG. He played for their youth side and in Brazil’s Serie B during 2015. He was then handed a full contract as he was transferred out to Fluminense in the top tier.
Richarlison scored four times for them in 28 appearances in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. The numbers started rising the following season as he had tallied five goals in fourteen appearances and that sparked a move to the English Premier League.
Watford paid around £11 million for the Brazilian youngster in early August 2017. He made his Premier League debut as a substitute on the opening day of the 2017/18 season. He netted his first goal for the club in just his second league appearance.
Even though there were only five goals scored in the top flight for Richarlison in his debut season, he played every single game of the campaign for Watford. His talent and ability was piquing a lot of interest. He moved to Everton for an initial £35 million.
Richarlison made his full international debut for Brazil in 2018. He is going to be a big part of Brazil’s 2022 World Cup campaign later in the year. It’s been a productive 2022 for him with the Selecao, playing four and scoring four during the calender year through to July 31st, 2022.
Richarlison’s Premier League Numbers
2017/18 Watford – P36 G5
2018/19 Everton – P35 G13
2019/20 Everton – P36 G13
2020/21 Everton – P34 G7
2021/22 Everton – P30 G10
Tottenham bolstering their ranks
Richarlison has not been the only arrival at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during the summer. Conte has been busy adding further pieces.
Ivan Perisic was brought in on a free transfer after leaving Serie A side Inter, who is likely another good option for cup nights. They picked Fraser Forster as goalkeeping back-up to Hugo Lloris as well, enhancing their home-grown player base.
In terms of spending, alongside the capture of Richarlison, Spurs have spent on two other players as things stand. They paid £15 million to English Championship side Middlesbrough for the services of full-back Djed Spence.
Yves Bissouma is the other player that Tottenham have shelled out for. The midfielder joined Premier League side Brighton for around £30 million. With those outgoings, it could still prompt Spurs to ship a couple of players to balance the books a bit.
They have let Cameron Carter-Vickers go to Celtic and winger Steven Bergwijn transfered to Ajax for around £35 million. But their overall balance in the summer from transfers is a negative £70 million. Tottenham may be keen to knock a further hole in that.