Tottenham: Why Richarlison may FINALLY be a perfect Harry Kane understudy after some awful misfires
Following Harry Kane’s path is no easy task – as a few former Tottenham forwards have discovered – and new signing Richarlison will be the last to try his luck after moving from Everton.
The Brazilian forward has completed his £60m transfer, £50m upfront with around £10m in extras, a fee approaching the club’s record purchase – and now Spurs have serious firepower to challenge the elite.
The 25-year-old has become Antonio Conte’s fourth summer signing after Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster and Yves Bissouma, as Spurs continue to build their squad for a return to the Champions League.
Everton forward Richarlison has completed his £60m move to Tottenham Hotspur
He is poised to become the latest in a long line of stars to back up striker Harry Kane
After several failures, the Brazilian star has the quality to star striker Kane . to challenge
Richarlison, while he may be able to start on the right wing and cover for joint Golden Boot winner Son Heung-min on the left, will also almost certainly be the first to step in if Kane misses.
The England captain is a world-class striker and one of the greats of the Premier League, but has struggled with injuries at times amid a huge workload for club and country, especially given the lack of sufficient competition up front.
Many second-choice strikers have tried to fill his shoes in recent years, but have failed to fill his shoes – while experiments with youngsters have also failed, with Son seemingly being the only player capable of the take responsibility.
So below, sports post looks at Tottenham’s dubious history of having a bad backup forward – and discusses why Richarlison has the quality to overshadow them all.
Spurs manager Antonio Conte (left) knows he will need cover if England captain is injured
After a 30-goal season for Valencia in Spain, former Real Madrid striker Soldado arrived in north London for a then club-record fee of £26 million.
He scored a (controversial) penalty on his Spurs debut against Crystal Palace, but finished the season with just six league goals, only two of which came from open play.
The following campaign, he scored just once in 24 appearances. The club promptly sold him for a loss of £16 million two years after he joined.
Roberto Soldado is one of many players up front who struggled to play second fiddle to Kane
Another who won a lot in Europe, but was unable to translate that form to the Premier League, was the Dutch striker Vincent Janssen.
Janssen scored 31 in 49 appearances for AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, and impressed when he scored in a 2-1 win against England at Wembley in March 2016, before joining Spurs in July 2016 for £17 million.
When Kane suffered an ankle injury in September, he had his chance to impress in the first team but failed to take it.
His first open game goal was not until March and he scored just two league goals in 27 games, one of which was a penalty. After an average loan from the Turkish Fenerbahce, he moved to the Mexican Monterrey.
Dutch striker Vincent Janssen scored just two league goals in 27 games in his first season
Llorente was 32 when he signed from Swansea after scoring 15 in 33 appearances for the Welsh side.
He had Premier League experience but was entering his 15th season as a pro and while he proved to be a useful robbery player and target, he didn’t quite have the pace for the very highest level.
A reliable professional and impactful substitute, he scored some very important goals – namely a winner against Manchester City in the quarter-finals of the 2018-19 Champions League before a crucial goal in the famous semi-final comeback against Ajax.
That said, two Premier League goals in 36 games in two seasons is hardly an awe-inspiring record.
Fernando Llorente scored several important goals, but barely had an impressive record
What is it with Spurs and attracting European attackers after one good season? Brazilian Carlos Vinicius scored 24 in 47 for Benfica in the Primeira Liga and moved to Spurs in October 2020 for a small fee.
But with Kane playing 49 games in all competitions that campaign, chances were few – and he didn’t impress that much when they came.
He scored a seemingly respectable 10 in 22 games, but half of that came against Marine (three) and Bulgarian Ludogorets Razgrad (two).
He scored just one Premier League goal – a four-yard tap-in into an open goal.
Brazilian Carlos Vinicius (left) scored just one Premier League goal – a tap into an open goal
Troy Parrott and Dane Scarlett
The Spurs have even turned to the youth in their efforts to support Kane. Youth products Troy Parrott has had both (albeit limited) chances in the first team on points for the past three seasons.
Irish international Parrott, now 20, made his professional debut at age 17 against League Two Colchester – which Spurs lost on penalties. Four appearances that season resulted in zero goals.
After a goalless loan spell in the Championship to Millwall, he was sent off to League One Ipswich in February 2021, where he scored twice in 18 league games before improving last season on loan from third tier MK Dons.
Scarlett, meanwhile, has impressed at international level, with 12 goals in 12 appearances for the England Under-19. The 18-year-old has not scored in 10 appearances in the past two years.
Richarlison may not have too much trouble living up to the previous contenders!
Why Richarlison Can Be Different
Richarlison offers almost none of the previous players anything to be the No. 2 striker at Spurs – he has Premier League experience.
Llorente – who we will discuss later – had a good season at Swansea before joining the club, but every other striker had no history in senior English football.
Soldado, Janssen and Vinicius, for example, struggled to adapt to the relentless pace and physicality of the Premier League, while Richarlison, lean but muscular and built resilient to withstand hard knocks, has five years of experience at the highest level.
At Everton, Richarlison has scored 53 great goals in 152 appearances across all competitions
After moving to the Premier League at the age of 20, he had quite a breakthrough season at Watford, scoring five goals but impressing with his mature, dynamic performances and earning a £35 million transfer to Everton, rising to £50 million with addons.
Since then, mostly on the left wing, he has scored a staggering 53 goals in 152 games across all competitions, with a goal ratio better than one in three.
His 10 Premier League goals last season, often as a central striker while Dominic Calvert-Lewin was absent, were a crucial factor in helping the Toffees avoid relegation.
He is smooth, skilled, great with his head, is a relentless worker, can press brilliantly, covers multiple positions and even takes spot kicks. If Kane or Son miss, he’s a natural choice to enter.
Italian manager Conte may even decide to put him in the first team in a spirited front three, which is the best option – expect him to succeed at White Hart Lane.