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Spurs must sell Conte signing who’s earning more than Van de Ven & Porro

Written by on May 26, 2024

Tottenham Hotspur failed to qualify for the Champions League after looking nailed on for a return to Europe’s elite club competition for much of the early days of the campaign, though there is little question that progress has been made under Ange Postecoglou.

Of course, that will now need to be shaped next season, but Tottenham’s squad are blessed with a collective malleability that saw Postecoglou drill his philosophy in with efficacy and ease over the first few months – which saw him collect a three-peat of Premier League Manager of the Month awards.

This fast start had seen lofty dreams of title contention lift the previously beleaguered outfit, but after flattering to deceive throughout different zones of the campaign thereafter – a by-product of damaging injuries and a knock to the cohesion – Spurs have had to settle for fifth place.

After seeing Harry Kane sold to Bayern Munich in a £100m transfer last summer, Heung-min Son might have been forgiven for losing his way in the Lilywhites attack – indeed, the South Korean had not been at his best last year and had lost his long-time strike partner.

But, promoted to skipper after Hugo Lloris lost his starting spot last summer, Son has enjoyed an emphatic campaign, scoring 17 goals and adding ten assists in the Premier League.

He’s had his detractors in the final phase of the year after seemingly running out of gas, but the club captain is still an elite forward and must serve a central role next year.


Heung-min Son for Tottenham

The same, however, cannot be said for Richarlison, who might have picked himself up off the wayside after a dismal 2022/23 season – his first after signing under Antonio Conte in a £60m deal – but must be brutally ditched this summer, lest Tottenham stagnate.

Richarlison’s season in numbers

Richarlison has undoubtedly improved this term after his abject first campaign as a Spurs player, but he has bobbed up and down in the form rankings and is not quite proving that he is the man to lead the line over the coming years.

Richarlison: PL Stats 22/23 vs 23/24

Stat

22/23

23/24

Matches played

27

28

Matches started

12

18

Goals

1

11

Assists

3

4

Pass completion

73%

71%

Shots per game

1.0

2.2

Key passes per game

0.6

0.6

Touches per game

18.1

26.2

Dribbles per game

0.4 (40%)

0.4 (30%)

Duels won per game

2.7 (44%)

2.9 (35%)

All stats via Sofascore

To his credit, Richarlison has come on leaps and bounds vis-a-vis goalscoring after suffering from a much-criticised maiden campaign in London, where he was but a shadow of his one-time vigour and vitality as one of Everton’s focal frontmen.

The Athletic’s Charlie Eccleshare noted how much Tottenham had “missed his physical presence” during the closing months of the campaign. While he’s only 5 foot 10 in height, the Brazil international is a fearsome and tenacious player, ranking among the top 9% of forwards across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for interceptions, the top 1% for blocks and the top 8% for clearances per 90, as per FBref.

The thing is, Tottenham don’t lack his physical presence as much as they lack a physical presence at the spearhead. Son is a wonderful footballer and one of the finest finishers in the Premier League, outperforming his xG (expected goals) for the past eight seasons in a row, as per Understat.

However, the 31-year-old’s inability to exert his dominance up front has left Tottenham feeling somewhat toothless in recent months – this is one of the predominant reasons behind Spurs’ late-season struggles, and indeed Son’s.

Richarlison offers that angle to Tottenham’s attacking arsenal, so to speak, but is he really the best physical dominator available to Postecoglou? The craggy-faced Australian deserves plaudits for the work he’s doing at Tottenham but the direction the club are headed hangs in the balance.

It’s imperative that Tottenham make the right choice this summer.

Why Spurs should sell Richarlison

Let’s dig into the first, frankest reason that Postecoglou must ditch Richarlison: his hardly impressive injury record. Across his two campaigns in north London, the one-time Watford forward has missed 20 fixtures due to injury, equating to 21% of Tottenham’s football.


Richarlison in anguish for Tottenham

This is a real problem heading back into European competition next season, with a heightened expectation to compete across multiple fronts. Tottenham only played four matches across the Carabao Cup and FA Cup this year too, and the manager will definitely expect his squad to wade deeper after the off-season.

Richarlison is also a player categorised by purple patches, which in itself is not a bad thing but his demonstrable failure to maintain scoring rates at a steady pace compounds the ebb and flow in results and performance levels that Spurs failed to shake under Postecoglou.

But most importantly, Richarlison earns a pretty penny at Tottenham, with a salary not reflecting his standing in the squad nor his point on the Spurs scale.

Spurs Players Earning Less Than Richarlison

Rank

Player

Salary

#

Richarlison

£90k-per-week

1.

Pedro Porro

£85k-per-week

1.

Radu Dragusin

£85k-per-week

3.

Ben Davies

£80k-per-week

4.

Destiny Udogie

£75k-per-week

4.

Guglielmo Vicario

£75k-per-week

4.

Fraser Forster

£75k-per-week

Stats via Capology

Above is a table comprised of first-team stars earning less than Richarlison. The fact that he is taking home greasier bacon than right-back Pedro Porro, who has been immense this season and one of Tottenham’s finest players, hailed for his “outstanding” term by his manager, is remarkable.

But moreover, Tottenham’s deserved Player of the Season, Micky van de Ven, is not even on that list, earning £50k per week after transferring from Wolfsburg for £43m last summer.


Micky van de Ven for Tottenham-1

Of course, Richarlison was an established Premier League striker when he alighted down N17 but there’s no way that, in hindsight, he boasts a standing and quality in the squad to accurately reflect his earnings – and indeed the outlay to bring him to the team.

Postecoglou is understood to have identified a multitude of players to be sold this summer. Newly-crowned Saudi Pro League champions Al-Hilal are preparing a bid for Richarlison in what adds to news from GiveMeSport that Tottenham will now prioritise a move for Feyenoord striker Santiago Gimenez, who posted 26 goals and eight assists this season.

The Lilywhites must show their ruthless streak this summer to build from a promising foundation, and Richarlison must be sold.

Related

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Ange Postecoglou’s side showed promise this season but improvements are patently required.

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