Tottenham Hotspur have always had inconsistencies in the transfer market; such is the nature of the business. Not every deal is going to pay dividends or be a success but one signing in recent times has certainly been worth his salt in abundance.
Over the weekend, the north Londoners mounted an inspired comeback to seal another late Premier League victory as they defeated Leeds United 4-3 in an enthralling curtain-raiser before the Qatar World Cup.
Leading the charge was dynamic midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who not only got on the scoresheet once but found the net twice, including the all-important winner.
In the space of just three minutes, the 25-year-old – heading to this month’s major tournament with Uruguay – turned the game on its head with less than ten minutes to go.
He showed wonderful composure for his first, controlling it with ease before blasting it past the Whites’ no.1, Illan Meslier, and then moments later, he drilled another strike home after some good work from fellow ex-Juventus star Dejan Kulusevski saw him cut the ball back across goal for Bentancur to nab the three points for Spurs.
The brace makes it five goals and two assists in 21 outings in all competitions for the Uruguayan sensation, via Transfermarkt – not exactly something he’s been brought into do but a sign of just how important he has been for Antonio Conte thus far this term.
Back in Turin, Bentancur had stagnated, was a tad error-prone and seemingly wasn’t considered a star man for the engine room. However, his tenacity, high-energy, and fearlessness have made him an absolute dream for Conte-ball in N17.
Some could compare him to Mousa Dembele but the £75k-per-week powerhouse is in a league of his own, having added goal contributions to his combative nature.
Aside from a shout for Harry Kane, it’s hard to dispute that Bentancur has been Tottenham’s best player since the start of the 2022/23 campaign, with a lot of his impressive work slipping under the radar.
The more thrilling and goal-hungry Kulusevski has often taken the limelight, having joined on the same day as his former Old Lady colleague back on deadline day in January 2022.
Cristian Romero has also excelled after joining from the Serie A too but when you consider the fact that sporting director Fabio Paratici paid as little as £16m for his services, it’s clear that he has been the best bit of business from the Italian supremo yet.
He’s well on his way to eclipsing the numbers put up by Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele, who combined cost around £110m in once-club-record deals, and he’s a far greater talent than Harry Winks or the Dele Alli we witnessed towards the end of his Lilywhites career.
It perhaps comes as little surprise to see Bentancur praised from the rooftops in the last year.
“He’s such a classy operator, I’ve always described him as a Rolls-Royce midfielder,” claimed South American football expert Tim Robinson just days after his arrival at Spurs, whilst more recently, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp said:
“Bentancur for Spurs has been their unsung hero. Harry Kane gets all of the plaudits, but Bentancur has been the best player for me pound-for-pound. He does things in such a quiet way.”
Indeed, on the above evidence, it’s hard to argue against the relentless Uruguayan being anything but the best signing of Paratici’s reign so far.
Tottenham better hope that their “animal” – in the words of the aforementioned Romero – returns from Qatar with a clean bill of health because he will be crucial to their fortunes in 2023.