After Tottenham Hotspur exited the EFL Cup at the hands of Chelsea in midweek, swatted aside with ease by their London neighbours as another piece of silverware slipped through the club’s clutches, Antonio Conte went public with his desire to bring a new centre-forward to the English capital.
“I think that, especially in this league because the level is very high and you have to play a lot of games, if you want to have ambition, to be competitive, to fight for something important, you have to have 20 players. Two players in every role,” said Conte, a manager who rarely resists the temptation to call for new signings (The Sun).
Just ask Inter Milan.
“For sure, as a coach it’s very difficult to decide to keep Harry (Kane) on the bench,” Conte adds.
“But at the same time, when you play the way we played in the last period – six games in 17 days – every coach has to have the possibility to make rotations.
“You have to know that if you want to be competitive, you need a couple of players for every role.”
The fact that Conte had little choice but to haul Kane off the bench during last week’s nerve-biting FA Cup victory over third-tier strugglers Morecambe – the England captain finding the net in his 21 minutes on the pitch – spoke volumes about the lack of alternative options at the Italian’s disposal.
This is not a new problem either.
It is eight years now since Kane forced his way into the first-team picture under Mauricio Pochettino.
Carlos Vinicius, last season’s Benfica loanee, was the best of a largely bad bunch. Whether Paul Onuachu can thrive where Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente failed, however, is up for debate.
Is Paul Onuachu the right striker for Tottenham Hotspur?
Who will Paul Onuachu join?
At 6ft 7ins, Onuachu would certainly give Tottenham something different; A viable Plan B.
But, as Aston Villa supporters will tell you, a prolific goalscoring record in Belgium is not easily replicated in the Premier League.
Onuachu was named the Jupiler League’s 2021 Player of the Year this week after netting 26 goals in 34 games. Previous winners of the prestigious Golden Shoe include Vincent Kompany, Thorgan Hazard and Axel Witsel.
But Conte wants a striker capable of competing with Harry Kane. Not one just to fill in during Europa League dead-rubbers and FA Cup clashes with lower-league opposition.
Is Onuachu the man for the job? Or just another Ally Samatta?