The final few months of the 2021/22 Premier League season highlighted Tottenham’s desperate need to strengthen in the summer transfer market and improve their squad. While things did go right for the team on the pitch as they beat Arsenal to the final Champions League spot, at times Antonio Conte had very few options to choose from off the bench in games when he needed to change things in his side’s favour.
Injuries to Japhet Tanganga, Oliver Skipp and Matt Doherty certainly didn’t help Tottenham’s cause, with the Republic of Ireland international’s injury coming at the worst possible time for the player after recapturing his best form at right wing-back. January exits for Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele and Bryan Gil had also reduced the head coach’s attacking choices, leaving Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn and Dane Scarlett as the only real attacking options on the bench available to Conte.
Spurs’ lack of numbers coupled with their injuries resulted in the boss having to call on a handful of their talented academy players in order to name nine substitutes. Not exactly the best situation to be in with the team chasing a Champions League spot, 18-year-old Scarlett was joined by fellow youngsters Alfie Devine, Harvey White and Matthew Craig on the bench on the final day of the season at Norwich City.
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It was clear to see that Conte wasn’t best pleased with the options he had available to him during games last term and the same couldn’t happen again in 2022/23 with the team wanting to compete for major honours. So what exactly could Spurs’ bench look like next season following the club’s transfer business? football.london takes a look.
New signing Fraser Forster will be Hugo Lloris’ deputy next campaign, with Brandon Austin possibly getting the nod on the bench in domestic cup competition.
Davinson Sanchez is likely to find himself out of the XI next season and he could be joined on the sidelines by Ben Davies depending on who the new arrival is on the left of defence this summer. In terms of the wing-backs, Djed Spence may have to bide time on the bench to begin with due to his lack of Premier League experience if Spurs can strike a deal with Middlesbrough for his services, whereas Ivan Perisic is perhaps in the driving seat for a starting spot on the left and that could be bad news for Ryan Sessegnon.
Conte will then have to decide if he goes with two centre-backs and one wing-back on the bench or vice versa. Two centre-backs may be the way to go as Davies, if he isn’t in the team, can play as a left wing-back if required.
Conte now has four quality midfield options to choose from following Yves Bissouma’s transfer from Brighton. That in turn gives him a real dilemma when it comes to his two starting midfielders, although it is a great headache to have.
As Rodrigo Bentancur appears to be a certain starter after playing a huge role in Spurs’ rise up the table following his January switch from Juventus, one of Bissouma, Skipp and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will partner him with the other two named on the bench. The quality in Spurs’ midfield means that the partnership could change multiple times throughout the season to ensure that the quartet get good minutes under their belt in both the league and Europe.
Lucas will once again have to settle for a place on the bench next season as it’s extremely unlikely he will move ahead of Dejan Kulusevski, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane in the pecking order. Richarlison is likely to join him there if Spurs can lure him from Everton as they look to improve their attack, with Spurs possibly then needing to bring in a new out-and-out striker as backup for Kane even though Richarlison can operate through the middle.
With Bergwijn tipped to join Ajax this summer due to his lack of game time in the capital, the Lilywhites cannot afford to leave themselves too short and must bring in cover given the number of games on the calendar for them in 2022/23.
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Source by Football London