Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Conte gives hope to Tottenham ‘excellent investment’ who has already enabled ‘miraculous’ achievement

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte and winger Dejan Kulusevski speaking at a press conference

Antonio Conte has emphasised the potential of Dejan Kulusevski, who he believes was a key driving force behind Tottenham Hotspur qualifying for this season’s Champions League.

Kulusevski joined Tottenham during the January transfer window, signing on an 18-month loan deal from Juventus. He played 18 times in the Premier League and twice in the FA Cup during his first six months with the club.

Tottenham ended up finishing fourth in the Premier League, qualifying for the Champions League as a result.

It means Kulusevski is getting to experience Europe’s elite competition again after previously doing so with Juventus. He will not, though, have a chance to play against Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday night due to injury.

Speaking in view of the game, head coach Conte has highlighted the difference Kulusevski has made to his squad in 2022.

“He’s doing great things, he has a lot of potential,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

“He is a crack and has a great desire to improve. He aims to become an important player. It was an excellent investment for Tottenham.”

Tottenham have the option to buy Kulusevski at the end of the season, which could become an obligation if he reaches certain thresholds.

They originally paid €10million for the privilege of having him on loan. Juventus would be due to receive €35million if the 22-year-old becomes a Tottenham player outright.

Having him as a permanent member of their squad would seemingly not be a burden for Spurs.

That said, he has been part of Conte’s rotation policy in attack since the summer signing of Richarlison from Everton. Kulusevski has not started any of their previous three Champions League group games.

Conte explains transformative Kulusevski impact

Still, the Italian tactician has identified the Sweden international as someone who was important in getting them there in the first place. The same goes for midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who also joined from Juventus in January.

“He [Kulusevski] and Bentancur guaranteed us a big leap in quality last season,” Conte continued.

“Coming from Italy they were more tactically prepared. They helped us a lot to hit the Champions League goal, something miraculous if you think from where we started.”

Tottenham went on to reinforce further during the summer transfer window. Therefore, hopes are high that Conte – whose own future they are looking to secure – can record more achievements with them.

He will need to call upon players like Kulusevski and Bentancur, as well as those that have lasted longer at the club, to stand the best chance of doing so.

Not every signing Tottenham have made under Conte is getting the same amount of opportunities. But the pair of former Juventus rejects may be providing a blueprint for those looking to rebuild their careers.

Could it all culminate in some silverware at Tottenham? That has been the club’s aim for many years now without fruition. However, Conte seems to think they are putting some of the pieces of the puzzle together in terms of personnel.

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