During the summer of 2020, Manchester United snapped up Alex Telles from FC Porto and the Brazilian’s arrival brought a career-best run of form out of Luke Shaw. Eddie Nketiah, meanwhile, is only one goal away from equalling his tally from the whole of last season, stepping up his game considerably following the high-profile signing of Gabriel Jesus.
To put it simply, adding competition for places is a proven means of raising standards. A way of coaxing more out of the players currently at a manager’s disposal.
Former Spurs midfielder Jamie O’Hara might have a point when claiming that Arnaut Danjuma – the new loan signing from Villarreal – might not command a place in Tottenham’s best XI when everyone is fit and firing. But one of the main issues facing Antonio Conte, with Champions League qualification on the line, is that Tottenham’s frontline has not been fully fit or, indeed, firing on all cylinders for a while now.
Arnaut Danjuma in, Heung-Min Son out?
The London giants have lost four of the eight games Dejan Kulusevski has missed through injury this season. Heung-Min Son remains a pale shadow of his once unstoppable-self. Richarlison is yet to score in the Premier League. Injuries, meanwhile, have limited Lucas Moura to just 90 minutes of top-flight football.
Danjuma’s, then, adds not only speed, skill, goals and versatility, but also some valuable competition and cover. In his last two full seasons, at Bournemouth and Villarreal, the Dutch international scored 33 goals and set up 12 more, thriving both as a left-winger and a centre-forward. Danjuma’s clever movement, eye-catching link-play and fine finishing could give Conte the opportunity to rest Harry Kane or perhaps even remove the ailing Son from the firing line.
Who knows, maybe Danjuma can be to Son what Telles was to Shaw at Old Trafford.
A seconds stab at the Premier League for ex-Man City youngster Pedro Porro
Tottenham had hoped to sign Nicolo Zaniolo from Roma this month; Jose Mourinho confirming that the powerhouse Italy international had asked to leave. The sudden signing of Danjuma may bring an end to that long-running pursuit for the time being, however; Fabrizio Romano reporting that Tottenham are now fully focused on reinforcements at the other end of the pitch.
Emerson Royal produced one of his better Tottenham performances in Monday’s 1-0 win at Fulham. But what the Brazilian possesses in industry and effort, he lacks in technique and cutting edge. Wing-backs are crucial to Conte’s system and Emerson simply lacks the requisite quality in the final third.
You can’t say the same of Pedro Porro; Sporting Lisbon’s former Manchester City starlet. In 64 Tottenham games, Emerson has just two goals and two assists. Compare that to Porro; three goals and 11 assists in the last six months alone.
Sporting have been reluctant to sell the Spain international for a penny less than his £40 million release clause. But, according to Fabrizio Romano, a deal is edging ever closer. There is a quiet confidence, Romano adds, that a deal will be ‘done’. Perhaps as early as Wednesday.
A new number one
If Danjuma’s place in Conte’s XI is uncertain – given his ability to play in multiple positions – then Porro’s is much easier to nail down. He will almost certainly replace the Emerson as Tottenham’s first-choice right-wing-back.
Sporting Lisbon are now in talks to sign Heerenveen’s Milan van Ewijk as Porro’s successor (Daily Mail). Van Ewijk admitted to receiving interest from Fulham, but has doubts about a move to Craven Cottage.
Looking further ahead, a long-term successor for the ageing and error-prone Hugo Lloris is likely to be right at the top of Tottenham’s summer agenda. La Repubblica believe £32 million Napoli ‘keeper Alex Meret could become Spurs’ latest Serie A import, his agent insisting that there is indeed ‘interest from an England club’ (Sport Italia).
Meret’s contract expires in 2024. If a new deal is not forthcoming, Napoli are likely to cash in.