Tottenham Hotspur have struck gold with the signing of Dejan Kulusevski.
A much-maligned outcast from Juventus, the Swedish winger has enjoyed an electric start to life in north London and that continued on Saturday afternoon as he was the main star of the show as Spurs defeated Southampton to begin the new Premier League campaign.
The 22-year-old assisted their first goal as he teed up Ryan Sessegnon at the back post to head home the equaliser. He then found himself on the scoresheet just after the hour mark, bagging the fourth in the 4-1 win with a curled effort from 15 yards out.
It makes it six goals and nine assists from 21 appearances in a Lilywhites shirt.
That’s one direct goal contribution every 98.6 minutes, which is effectively one per game – a remarkable feat.
It could have been ever so different, though, as Tottenham were heavily mooted with a move for Luis Diaz, before his move to Liverpool but for chairman Daniel Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici, that has been a blessing in disguise.
In fact, according to The Athletic’s James Pearce, if Spurs did not register interest in the then-Porto star, then the Merseyside giants wouldn’t have made their move. Something that left Levy fuming.
There is no denying that the Colombian winger is an elite-level talent and one that has also done well in the Premier League so far, though it’s nothing compared to the level of Kulusevski.
Diaz drew a blank against Fulham on the same afternoon and has delivered just six goals and five assists across 28 appearances for the Reds, averaging one direct goal contribution every 169 minutes, almost one every two games.
This difference in quality even led The Football Terrace host Terry Flewers to claim that “Dejan Kulusevski was a better signing than Luis Diaz,” whilst verified journalist Alex Mitton has suggested that “There [are] not many wingers in the world I’d take over him currently.”
It should have been somewhat expected, though, given the praise from journalist Nima Tavallaey Roodsari prior to his arrival as he dubbed him an “absolute monster” and a “non-stop machine.”
Once dubbed a “great talent” by former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, the Sweden international is becoming something of a household name, not just in N17 but across the Premier League and as such, Tottenham have certainly struck gold with the £110k-per-week star’s signature.