Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Antonio Conte provides Dejan Kulusevski update all Tottenham fans wanted to hear

Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz going head to head with Tottenham winger Dejan Kulusevski

Antonio Conte all but confirmed Tottenham will complete a permanent move for Dejan Kulusevski, and a move may be more cost-effective than many first thought.

Spurs sought to steal a march on Liverpool in January when exploring a move for Luis Diaz. The Colombian was a long-term Liverpool target and reports at the time suggested the Reds were eyeing a summer swoop.

However, Tottenham’s interest forced Liverpool to act early and it’s fair to say Diaz has been a revelation at Anfield.

Yet Tottenham reacted quickly to that disappointment by signing Dejan Kulusevski on an 18-month loan from Juventus. The Swede, 21, arrived on an initial loan deal and he too has made a tremendous early impression.

Kulusevski has slotted seamlessly into Conte’s front three alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Lucas Moura can barely get a look in at present and Kulusevski’s numbers indicate why.

His first 14 league matches have produced three goals and eight assists. Clearly, Kane and Son have benefitted greatly from Kulusevski’s arrival.

According to Football London, Tottenham inserted an option to buy in the deal which could become an obligation pending certain criteria. That scenario would churn out a £29m transfer fee down the line.

Tottenham nearing transfer masterstroke

But per the report, Spurs can in fact trigger the deal early this summer and make a £4m saving. A £25m move can be made and Conte’s latest comments suggest that’s exactly what will transpire.

When asked about Tottenham’s intentions to sign Kulusevski outright, Conte replied: “Yeah, but he is on loan but it is like a deal.

Conte set on first summer signing for Tottenham

Conte set on first summer signing for Tottenham

Antonio Conte is set on his first summer signing for Tottenham Hotspur as they look to sign Dejan Kulusevski on a permanent deal following loan

“He is a Tottenham player 100 percent in every aspect. Not officially, but he is 100 percent a Tottenham player.”

Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano added his take to Conte’s comments, noting there’ll be “no issues” with Tottenham’s move given the presence of the contract clauses.

Kulusevski the pick of the January bunch?

The January window is often perceived to be a time where desperate clubs make ill-advised purchases. However, Spurs signed Rodrigo Bentancur as well as Kulusevski and both have hit the ground running.

Other clubs too have pulled off masterstrokes in the winter window, not least Liverpool with Diaz.

Newcastle splashed out around £90m on five new faces and Bruno Guimaraes has been the stand-out on Tynseside. The classy Brazilian has been instrumental behind Newcastle’s charge into the top half.

Further down the table, Christian Eriksen has been a revelation at Brentford. It is fair to say the Bees would’ve been in the thick of the relegation scrap but for the Dane’s remarkable and heart-warming return to the fore.

Yet in our view, it is Liverpool’s Luis Diaz that narrowly takes the prize of best January addition. His masterful cameo in Villarreal midweek kept Liverpool’s quadruple hopes alive and breaking into Liverpool’s well-established forward line is worthy of merit in itself.

Rio Ferdinand held a similar view, though the BT Sport pundit reckons Diaz might even be the signing of the season overall – not just January.