That’s according to transfer insider and journalist Dean Jones, who provided an update on Spurs’ ongoing recruitment plans to ‘The Done Deal Show’ this week.
“When I’ve pressed people to get an idea about who I should be taking seriously here as a target, the message I got back from probably my best contact at Tottenham was that when Kulusevski is not in this team, it’s generally a big problem,” he said.
“That creativity, that type of player is what they’ll look for. When Richarlison got injured many expected that it would be a replacement for him that would come in, but I’m not told that is the case. They want a player who can make things happen in a similar way to Kulusevski.”
On paper, manager Antonio Conte appears to be well-stocked in the final third but in recent weeks and months, the likes of summer signing Richarlison, the aforementioned Kulusevski and the long-serving Lucas Moura have all been absent through injury and often, at the same time.
It has left the Italian with only the relatively inexperienced Bryan Gil to accompany Harry Kane and Heung-min Son in the attack. And just as Jones alludes to, the Lilywhites have struggled most without the Sweden international.
Back in October, iPaper journalist Oliver Young-Myles revealed that in the first 12 games of the season, Spurs were unbeaten with Kulusevski playing but had seen a 2.3 points-per-game ratio drop alarmingly to 1.5 without him, with the side also suffering numerous defeats.
Now several months on, the case very much remains the same with the former Juventus dynamo leading the squad for assists (five) and key passes made per game (1.9), via WhoScored.
Tottenham have suffered some pretty big defeats when Kulusevski has been out as well, losing to arch-rivals Arsenal, as well as Manchester United and Newcastle United, who both seem to be the nearest challengers for a top-four finish behind the aforementioned Gunners and Manchester City.
It, therefore, seems obvious why the club’s recruitment team would be looking to find another version of the 22-year-old sensation as it’s not as if Conte has a no.10-style playmaker to call upon either.
A new attacker capable of providing further creativity to the Lilywhites’ star-studded attack is badly needed this month, so sporting director Fabio Paratici must look to fulfil this before it’s too late, with around three weeks to go, he’s running out of time to do so.