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Spurs: Conte must stick with Kulusevski despite Richarlison splash

Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte is facing several selection headaches as his side return to Premier League action this afternoon.

The north Londoners host Southampton at 3pm and the Italian will be looking to get off to a perfect start with three points, having guided the Lilywhites back into the Champions League last season.

They pipped their arch-rivals to fourth place at the last minute and now will soon be facing two games per week leading up to Christmas.

That is why the Spurs hierarchy have backed him to the wall this summer transfer window, signing no fewer than six new faces, including an eye-watering £60m splash on Richarlison from Everton.

When you’ve spent that much on a player – a new club record fee – you’d expect him to be very much part of the starting XI week-in, week-out, but the coach must resist that urge for the time being.

It would be unfair on any of Spurs’ frontline to be dropped just yet with perhaps Dejan Kulusevski most in doubt following the Brazilian’s arrival. But the Juventus loanee, who will cost a fraction of the price at £29.2m should they make the move permanent, was an essential reason behind their European qualification.

Who should start vs Southampton?

RICHARLISON

RICHARLISON

KULUSEVSKI

KULUSEVSKI

After arriving on deadline day in January, the Sweden winger delivered five goals and eight assists across 18 league matches, meaning he averaged one direct goal contribution every 97 minutes, as per WhoScored.

Effectively, Kulusevski was having an impact in every single game that Tottenham played following his switch from Turin.

Once described as an “explosive player who likes to challenge his direct opponent” by ex-Sweden international Marcus Allback, Conte will surely be looking to Kulusevski to provide his side with more creativity and threat in the final third and as such, he must be unleashed over Richarlison this weekend.

Speaking about the 22-year-old to reporters last term, Conte claimed:

“We are talking about a player who is only 21 years old. And he has to continue to play this way. Because he’s strong physically, big engine, he’s good technically. I think for Tottenham, this is a great signing for the present and for the future. We are talking about really, really strong.”

The £36m-rated dynamo simply has to start this afternoon.

AND in other news, Fabrizio Romano: Spurs “have opened talks” for “extraordinary” 7th signing

Article title: Spurs: Conte must stick with Kulusevski despite Richarlison splash

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