Last season, Tottenham’s terrifying front three received a lot of attention, but Antonio Conte had also worked his magic on the backline.
Before he took over at the beginning of November, Spurs were playing pretty shakily and had let up a few careless goals. The head coach understood things needed to alter if they were to compete for a Champions League spot.
Due to a hamstring injury received in November while on international service, Cristian Romero was sidelined for three months. However, after his return to the field at the beginning of February, the team’s performance improved, and they continued on to finish fourth.
Romero performed admirably in his debut season with the team and showed why Fabio Paratici was so determined to recruit him to N17 from Atalanta by delivering some huge performances at the back.
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Ben Davies also played a crucial role after switching from his left-back position to the left of the three-man defence, while Eric Dier drew praise for his outstanding performance at the centre of the back three.
It may seem like an easy choice who starts in defence against Southampton on opening weekend given how the backline performed in the 2021–2022 season.
That might not be the case today, though, as Tottenham is very close to signing Clement Lenglet from Barcelona on a season-long loan. Spurs are hoping the defender will sign before the team departs on Saturday for their preseason tour of South Korea and completes his medical within the next 24 hours.
The France international is now expected to have a positive month with Conte, the coaching staff, and his new teammates ahead of the Southampton match.
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He will be hoping to alter the Italian’s perspective and claim the left-most spot in the back three as his own. Tottenham now has more choices thanks to the 27-year-old, who has 15 international appearances for France and can play in the middle of the defence.
Due to their flexibility and the number of games that will be played across four competitions next season, Lenglet and Davinson Sanchez will have opportunities even if they aren’t assured starters in defence. Before the summer transfer deadline, it’s unclear what will happen to Joe Rodon and Japhet Tanganga.
The former appears destined to leave Spurs since he isn’t getting the weekly playing time he needs in advance of the 2022 World Cup, which starts in November. Tottenham and Paratici just need to decide if the Wales international is leaving permanently or on loan.
As is the case almost every summer, Tanganga has been mentioned in connection with a move to Italy. What is best for the player vs what is best for the club is the conundrum that both Paratici and Conte must solve.
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A season on loan might be just what he needs to advance, as it was for Oliver Skipp during his influential loan season at Norwich City.
The 23-year-old is a very useful player for Conte to have in his squad because of his versatility, as Spurs cannot afford to leave themselves too short. He can play throughout the backline as well as at right wing-back.
Conte has already stated that he would prefer two players for each position, so if one of the pair or maybe both depart, Paratici may attempt to sign another center-back. Djed Spence of Middlesbrough is one player for whom Spurs will be hoping to complete a deal.
The England U21 international, who was excellent on loan at Nottingham Forest last season and helped them gain promotion to the top flight, will provide Tottenham another high-caliber option at right wing-back if they can work out a deal with Boro for his services. Chris Wilder’s squad has a price in mind for the player, but because a deal has so far proven to be very difficult to come to, one club will eventually have to concede.
One year after moving from Barcelona, the signing of Spence may force Emerson Royal to leave. Emerson has struggled in Conte’s system because he isn’t a natural wing-back and the manager truly needs someone who is very versatile to compete with Matt doherty.
Following the expiration of Ivan Perisic’s Inter Milan contract this summer, Tottenham made a clever deal by bringing him around to the opposing flank.
Conte is quite familiar with the Croat, who will provide Spurs an improvement at left wing-back thanks to his knowledge of the game and stellar statistics. The two worked together at the San Siro.
Prior to the transfer deadline, Sergio Reguilon came under scrutiny when Ryan Sessegnon appeared to overtake him in the final few months of the previous campaign.
The wing-backs in Conte’s starting lineup are crucial to the success of his system, and with Perisic already in the building and Spence maybe on the way, things might become really good.
Tottenham is making significant efforts in the transfer market this summer, and by the end of the window, Conte could have the ideal backline to work with.
They were quite outstanding at the back in the latter few months of the previous campaign, and owing to their market activity, they may reach another level in 2022/23.