Premier League

Bissouma Signs With Tottenham as Conte Revolution Continues

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On Friday, Yves Bissouma became Tottenham’s fourth summer signing, just a week after the transfer market officially opened.

The Mali international, 25, arrives from Brighton for an initial fee of £25m, which could rise to £35m with add-ons.

If you’re reading this and you’re a long-term Spurs fan, you could be forgiven for wondering what on earth is going on.

Summer transfer windows are supposed to mean one thing and one thing only: frantic, last-minute deadline day deals spearheaded by chairman-turned-bargain hunter, Daniel Levy.

One early move is rare. Four… well, that’s practically unheard of.

Yet the announcement of Bissouma’s arrival by the club means he will join Ivan Perisic and Fraser Forster, both of whom arrived on free transfers, in slotting straight into Antonio Conte’s first-team squad.

19-year-old shot-stopper Josh Keeley has also been recruited to boost Spurs’ development squad after five goalkeepers were allowed to depart N17 ahead of the current window.

The Italian Job

After ENIC injected £150m into the club last month and vowed to make improvements to the playing squad, it became apparent that this summer would be like no other for fans of the Lilywhites.

Despite securing Champions League football with a victory away to Norwich on the final day of last season, Conte frequently vented his frustration at a perceived lack of quality among the Spurs squad throughout the previous campaign, most notably after a defeat to Burnley.

It was clear that his ambitions went beyond obtaining a seat at Europe’s top table and that he would need the tools to challenge for major honors if he was to stick around in the capital.

As a result, Levy was left with a very simple equation: back Conte or risk losing his star manager and potentially also his star striker Harry Kane, whose future now appears very much intertwined with that of the temperamental Italian.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 29: Yves Bissouma of Brighton & Hove Albion during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Brighton & Hove Albion at Stamford Bridge on December 29, 2021, in London, England. (Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

With a failure to act likely to lead to a full-on fan revolt, Levy has decided to repay the faith and has given the director of football Fabio Paratici the go-ahead to grease the wheels of the Conte machine.

More signings are expected, with Conte and Paratici understood to be prioritizing the recruitment of a right-wing-back, a left-center-back, a creative midfielder, and a versatile forward, who can play across the front line.

Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence, who will boost Spurs’ homegrown quota – a necessity for the North Londoners this summer – is hoped to be next over the line.

The young right-wing-back, who impressed on loan at Nottingham Forest last season, as they won promotion via the Championship play-offs, is reportedly enticed by the prospect of a starting position for a side competing in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, moves for Villareal’s Pau Torres and Everton’s Richarlison have also been mooted, whilst free agent Christian Eriksen is another name being considered.

With departures expected for Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele, and Steven Bergwijn, among others, Spurs’ summer spending looks to be far from finished.

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Revolution

Levy’s preferred transfer strategy of recruiting young players with a high sell-on value has been allowed to fall by the wayside, as Paratici has been given control to bring in those most suited to being able to immediately fill the Conte brief.

Now the significance of this has been over-emphasized in some quarters, given that both Perisic, 33, and Forster, 34, arrived without a transfer fee on two-year deals, so the financial risk involved in those deals is minimal.

What is more important is that these transfers have been completed early in the window, with Paratici acting decisively, whilst still seemingly getting value for money, with Bissouma coming on a reduced fee, courtesy of being in the last 12 months of his contract.

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND – MAY 07: Yves Bissouma of Brighton & Hove Albion in action during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Manchester United at American Express Community Stadium on May 07, 2022, in Brighton, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

With Spurs set to embark on their pre-season tour of South Korea on July 13th, it is understood that Conte is keen for the majority of Spurs’ transfer business to be complete by then.

A particularly grueling pre-season is said to be in store, as Conte attempts to whip a Spurs side into shape that will not benefit from the midweek breaks that the Italian’s 2016-17 title-winning Chelsea side rejoiced in, having failed to qualify for Europe the season prior to his arrival.

After last season’s drubbing of Everton, the enigmatic manager himself noted:

“I have seen with my staff that when we have more days, more time to prepare for the game, to play against us is difficult for everybody. The problem when we have to prepare to play in two or three days is not simple.”

“Don’t forget that with this team I didn’t start the season. I haven’t had the possibility to have one month to work with the team in pre-season and try to work and instill my idea of football.”

The Champions League is a competition in which the Italian has notoriously struggled in the past and, with Spurs’ own well-documented struggles when they did not have a midweek break between fixtures last season, Conte may well need all of his major recruitments to be involved in pre-season if he intends to compete for major honors both domestically and on the continent.

Next season, every Premier League team will be able to use up to five substitutes – rather than three – per game, so a lack of squad depth will be exposed like never before.

Challengers?

Among many pundits, Tottenham has been dubbed the most likely to upset the big two of Liverpool and Manchester City in next season’s Premier League.

On paper, this seems a fair assessment.

Thomas Tuchel’s backline has been dismantled during the Chelsea takeover, Erik Ten Hag is very much in rebuild mode at Manchester United, whilst Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal lack experience at the highest level.

However, despite this, few would say that Spurs’ current business has been more impressive than Manchester City’s high-profile acquisition of Erling Haaland, or Liverpool’s exciting coup of Darwin Núñez.

With the gap between Tottenham and these two sides already being undisputedly sizeable – something Conte himself has said will take time to close – and theoretically growing even further with these new arrivals, perhaps expectations for an immediate challenge are a little premature.

NORWICH, ENGLAND – MAY 22: Antonio Conte, the Tottenham Hotspur manager shouts instructions during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur at Carrow Road on May 22, 2022, in Norwich, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Realistically, Conte will be tasked with closing this gap next season, whilst also targeting that all-important silverware in either the FA or Carabao Cup.

That being said, the Italian will undoubtedly aim higher and is not completely devoid of reasons for optimism.

After all, any transfer activity comes with an inherent risk, as both City and Liverpool are disrupting winning formulas, a move that does not always result in success.

Furthermore, even if both sides do improve stylistically, such is their current level, which finishes around the 90–100-point mark will still be roughly where you can expect them to end up.

Therefore, solely from a points perspective, the challenge facing Conte next season should remain much the same.

With Spurs going unbeaten in the league against City and Liverpool last season, it’s clear that their ability to rake in such a points haul will be determined by their ability to dispatch the lesser teams with the same ruthless abandon as the top two.

In a season that will start early and finish late, due to the disruption caused by the Winter World Cup, fitness and focus – two staples of all Conte teams – will prove crucial.

As they say, anything can happen.

We hope you enjoyed this article “Bissouma Signs as Conte Revolution continues”. Where do you think Tottenham will finish next season? Follow me at @luke_sport_news and let me know!

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Sport Editor (Formerly Senior Sport Writer) for Concrete - UEA's Student Newspaper. Third-Year LLB Law with American Law Student at UEA. I am an aspiring Sports Journalist, with interests in Football, NBA, Cricket, Boxing, NFL, Formula 1, Rugby Union, Darts, Tennis and Golf among other sports. I am adept with Adobe Software, including InDesign and Photoshop. I also have experience using WordPress.

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