Opinion: Tottenham’s strongest XI to start the new Premier League season

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With six new summer signings, it’s fair to say Tottenham’s squad has undergone some much-needed surgery this window.

Since joining the club, Antonio Conte has welcomed eight new faces across two windows, but with just a week left until the 2022/23 season kicks off, who makes Tottenham’s current strongest Xi?

Goalkeeper

As club captain, this one is a no-brainer; Hugo Lloris remains the unrivalled first choice.

Left Wing-back

After Ryan Sessegnon and Sergio Reguilon both failed to nail down the LWB role last season, the arrival of Ivan Perisic so early in the summer looks to be telling.

The Croatian’s experience and skill set make him the most Conte-like signing thus far, whilst his history with the Italian will likely see him usurp both his teammates to become the first choice LWB when fit.

Perisic oozes class and arrives with a winners mentality – something Conte needs to instil in our current squad.

Moreover, his advanced, aggressive starting positions coupled with excellent end product should provide some much-needed creativity absent from the role last season and help take the burden off Son as the lone threat from the left.

Centre-backs

Going into the summer, a new centre-back was considered a top priority amongst most fans, so the sole addition of Clement Lenglet is in truth somewhat underwhelming.

Owing to last season’s performances, Cristian Romero and Eric Dier will certainly remain starters, leaving Lenglet to battle Ben Davies for the remaining left centre-back slot.

Arguments can be made for both players, as a stellar end to last season and his recent contract renewal (Tottenham Hotspur) could see Davies tipped to start, although the wages committed to facilitating Lenglet’s loan move could suggest he is the preferred choice.

Given his end-of-season form, the position is likely Davies’ to lose, but will likely face stern competition from the Frenchman, and could even provoke some un-Contelike rotation.

Ultimately, at least for now, Davies should just edge into the side whilst Lenglet settles in North London, but this spot is certainly up for grabs in the coming months.

Right Wing-back

Following the singing of Djed Spence from Middlesborough, the Englishman becomes the third RWB at N17 alongside Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal.

The aforementioned duo shared minutes last season, as besides a small purple patch before a season-ending injury for Doherty neither overly impressed, leaving the spot vacant on the eve of 2022/23. 

Given Conte has stated Spence was more a club investment rather than his own signing (Express), it would be a surprise to see the Englishman start instantly, realistically leaving the Italian the same options as last campaign.

Compared to Emerson, Doherty is certainly the more natural RWB, and considering his form and importance to the side towards the end of 2021/22 the Irishman is likely to be Conte’s first choice in the opening weeks.

Central Midfielders

Realistically, there are four challengers for the central midfield spots next season; Rodrigo Bentancur, Pierre-Emile Hoijberg, Oliver Skipp, and Yves Bissouma.

Last season, Skipp impressed heavily before his season-ending injury, whilst Bentancur and Hoijberg ended the campaign as Conte’s preferred pairing, however, Bissouma arrives following a strong spell at Brighton and as a well-versed Premier League footballer.

Given the volume of games expect for Tottenham next season, all four midfielders should be confident of getting minutes, but Conte will undoubtedly have a preferred, and ultimately stronger two in mind.

Considering he has brought both Bentancur and Bissouma to the club, it’s not unreasonable to assume this will be his desired pairing heading into 2023/23, however, the strength in depth in the middle of the park leaves us fans with a lot to be pleased about, especially with the World Cup later this year.

Left Wing

Let’s not beat around the bush with this one. As last season’s Golden Boot winner and an all-around world-class forward, Heung-Min Son will be a permanent fixture at N17 this year.

Centre Forward

Again, this one picks itself. 

After a strong pre-season, Harry Kane will lead the line for Tottenham yet again as we fans will be eager to see the Englishman flourish under a full season of Conteball.

Right Wing

After a stellar first few months in North London, Dejan Kulusevski seemed unmoveable in Conte’s starting Xi, however, the signing of Richarlison may have thrown a spanner in the works in terms of the Swede’s place on the team sheet.

The Brazilian arrived for a near club-record fee of £60 million (Sky Sports) and in truth, the idea Levy sanctions a move of this size for a backup forward is almost unimaginable.

That being said, competing on four fronts should leave plenty of minutes to go around, whilst the official introduction of five substitutes in the Premier League allows for heightened rotation in matches.

But realistically, with the presence of Kane and Son, only one of Kulusevski and Richarlison will start for Tottenham, and given his end-of-season form last campaign, at least for now, Kulusevski should remain the first choice.

Starting XI:

Hugo Lloris;

Matt Doherty, Cristian Romero, Eric Dier, Ben Davies, Ivan Perisic;

Rodrigo Bentancur, Yves Bissouma;

Dejan Kulusevski, Harry Kane, Heung-min Son

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