Opinion: Analysing who would be best for Spurs – Richarlison, Raphinha or Jesus

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Conte has made it clear that a summer rebuild is needed at Hotspur Way this transfer window, with Football London reporting that the Italian would still like to bring in a left-sided centre-back, striker, creative midfielder and a right wing-back following the signing of Brighton’s Yves Bissouma.

Recent news has been circulating linking Spurs to a few Premier League forwards in a push to create depth in the attacking positions.

Spurs, who have added a war chest of £150m into the club this summer (Football London), have been rumoured to be interested in Everton’s Richarlison, Leeds’ Raphinha and Manchester City’s Jesus.

The question is, which player should Spurs prioritise?

Richarlison – Everton

The Athletic confirmed last Sunday that Tottenham were interested in signing Richarlison but no bid had been submitted as of yet.

The report claimed that Everton want more than £51m for the Brazilian, although some close to the Merseyside club still think Richarlison to Tottenham will happen before the end of the window.

Richarlison moved to Everton from Watford in July 2018 for a fee that reached a total of £35M and has since scored 43 goals for the Toffees in the league (TransferMarkt).

The Brazilian can play in various positions across the front line, with striker and left wing being favoured. One asset of his game which can not be doubted is his work rate and his ability to press from the front.

Richarlison averaged 21 pressures per 90 last season whilst also completing 1.7 blocks per game (FBref).

These numbers are similar to recent signing Dejan Kulusevski (FBRef), who registered 24 pressures per 90, clearly indicating Richarlison could have the same pressing impact as the Swede if he made the move due to their similar playing styles.

The forward is no doubt a stand-out performer in a poor Everton team and heavily contributed to their escape from relegation towards the end of last season.

Crucial goals against Chelsea and Crystal Palace pushed Everton to safety and showed that Richarlison can perform in pressured moments, perhaps something we have been lacking at Spurs in recent times.

The successes of top teams like Manchester City and Liverpool have been strongly down to the endless amount of options available to the manager.

A signing like Richarlison would allow Conte to have many elite options available to him, especially in a season of severe congestion for the Lilywhites.

Whilst in a below-par Toffees team, Richarlison managed to achieve a goal contribution every 180 minutes in the league and a player like him would no doubt add experience and quality to the squad (FotMob).

Richarlison confirmed that his former manager, Carlo Ancelotti, told him he would be voted the best player in the world at some point in his career.

He said (ESPN): “He [Ancelotti] has already told me I will win the Ballon d’Or and that I will be leading scorer of many tournaments.”

Raphinha – Leeds United

Leeds’ Raphinha is a target for both Tottenham and Arsenal this summer, amid concerns Barcelona will be unable to fund a deal for the forward (Athletic).

Fabrizio Romano reported in May that Leeds would not sell Raphinha for less than £47.2m with the £21.5m relegation clause not being triggered due to Leeds’ survival (Fabrizio Romano).

Out of the Brazilian trio Spurs have an interest in, Raphinha is the only one who lacks versatility. The Leeds forward is primarily played down the right-hand side but should still be regarded as a quality acquisition if a deal goes through.

His fast, attacking attributes would seem to fit perfectly into the tactics Conte has been implementing in North London since he arrived, however, his play style may not suit.

Raphinha stats bode well when looking at progressive passes, with the winger displaying a total of 5 per 90 minutes in a Leeds shirt (FBRef).

However, the successes of Kulusevski (2.6 progressive passes per 90) and Heung-min Son (2.3 progressive passes per 90) did not come through their skills of developing play up the pitch.

Spurs heavily rely on their midfielders obtaining the ball from the defenders and progressing with the ball at their feet.

It should be identified that Spurs’ system differs from Leeds’, with Raphinha helping out defensively due to the lack of wing backs in the Bielsa and Marsch systems. Therefore, he may adapt with his superb dribbling into a counter-attacking Tottenham side.

With Paratici looking at these three options, Spurs should perhaps prioritise a forward who offers reliable cover in multiple areas thus making Richarlison and Jesus more attractive options – unless they are planning on signing a separate centre-forward.

If the January transfer window didn’t see Spurs sign Kulusevski, some could say Raphinha would have been perfect to bring in.

Gabriel Jesus – Manchester City

Tottenham hold an interest in Gabriel Jesus but face competition from their North London rivals, Arsenal (Times).

Gabriel Jesus will leave Manchester City and join a Premier League club, Fabrizio Romano has confirmed.

The Brazilian has struggled for game time since arriving at the Etihad in the summer of 2016 and is looking for a move away to establish his name in a starting eleven.

Jesus’ want for game time already puts a burden on a possible move to Tottenham this summer. Due to the positive performances of Spurs’ front three, it is hard to see the Brazilian getting to play week in week out if he joined Conte’s men.

However, with the Lilywhites playing Champions League football, Conte may be able to rotate the forward line and give all of the options an adequate number of minutes.

Since joining Manchester City, Gabriel Jesus has scored 58 goals in 99 starts for the club and has proved a reliable player for Pep Guardiola (TransferMarkt).

It is not just his goal-scoring prowess which makes him an appealing signing this summer, but also his playmaking ability.

The former Palmeiras player recorded 8 assists last season in a City shirt which put Gabriel Jesus in the top 3% of forwards for assists per game in Europe’s top five leagues (FBRef).

Manchester City are asking for around £40m for the Brazilian, making him the cheapest of the options (Mirror).

If Tottenham were to go through with Gabriel Jesus, it would be a strong signing and would undoubtedly boost the strength of the Lilywhites attack, but the question surrounding game time would be the biggest issue.

The Verdict

After looking at what each of these three Brazilians could bring to Tottenham’s squad, it is a very tight decision as to who we should prioritise.

For me, a move for Richarlison should be the one Tottenham go forward with if they are looking for someone to provide solid depth. Versatile and hard-working, the Everton man would be a perfect fit for Conte’s dynamic.

The deal with Gabriel Jesus looks doubtful due to the player’s excessive want for constant game time, and, with Raphinha, his price and lack of versatility prove negatives in a possible deal.

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  1. Good summary. I also agree its a tight call, Raph maybe better suited to an Ar*e type setup, what with their penchant of signing right-sided forwards (like replacing the doomed Pepe experiment). That said, Jesus or Rich seem the better options, with the former likely to throw a strop (a la Man Shitty) if not getting a regular starting 11 ahead of the HurriKane, which would appear the latter may present itself as Conte’s most appealing option (for the type of monies Everton are asking for)…plus that Twatter photo on hols with E. Royal and Dad (agent) doing the rounds, only adding fuel to the Richarlison fire..


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