Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Antonio Conte gets personal over decison to keep much-maligned Tottenham man after January exodus

Dejan Kulusevski, Emerson Royal, Tottenham, September 2022

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte personally decided against letting Emerson Royal leave in the January transfer window, it has been revealed. 

Spurs brought in a new right-back in the form of Sporting Lisbon’s Pedro Porro, who they signed on an initial loan deal with an obligation to buy set at £42m.

The London club saw the departure of two other full-backs, so it seems that Conte trusts Emerson to be back up to Porro for the remainder of the season.

This is according to a report from the Athletic, who claim that Conte, along with Tottenham’s director of football Fabio Paratici, decided against letting the 24-year-old leave last month.

As mentioned, he will now be the main backup option for Porro, who has the ability to have a big impact on Spurs’ season after sealing a last-minute deadline day switch. 

Following his arrival, Conte and co decided to let two other right-backs leave the club. Firstly, Daniel Levy scrapped Matt Doherty’s contract, allowing him to join Atletico Madrid on a short-term contract.

Then, they offloaded Djed Spence, who struggled to break into Conte’s starting XI this season. The 22-year-old joined Rennes on loan until the end of the season, with no option to buy.

Out of favour Emerson will likely sit on the bench

Emerson has struggled for consistent minutes with Tottenham this season, but the reality is that Conte did not want to be left with just one senior right-back for the rest of the campaign.

Across all competitions, the Brazilian has featured 24 times for Spurs, including 11 starts in the Premier League, but it seems that he will be playing second fiddle to Porro after his arrival.

However, the fact that Conte has often switched between Emerson and Doherty, suggests that he is not at all convinced by his performances.

His only saving grace, though, is that he is still a young player, with the potential to get better.

But, Porro definitely offers an immediate improvement to Tottenham’s previous options. The club pushed very hard to get a deal over the line, which was only confirmed in the final hours of the January window.

This season, the Spaniard scored three goals and made 11 assists in 25 appearances for Sporting, giving him an impressive average of 0.44 goal contributions per game.

With that in mind, Porro has the ability to help close Tottenham’s current three-point gap with the top four, who have played at least one game more than all the teams above them in the table.

Spurs’ next game is a monumental one in the context of their season – against Manchester City on Sunday – so it will be interesting to see if Conte puts Porro straight into his starting XI, or sticks with Emerson for now.

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