Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Transfers are a big indicator as to how teams will perform in a season and Tottenham have hit this window for six, following this week’s announcement of English full-back Djed Spence. Antonio Conte demanded that signings were brought in early and Daniel Levy uncharacteristically granted this wish, with help from Fabio Paratici, providing the Italian manager with significantly improved squad depth.
The punishing pre-season Conte is having with his team is said to be the hardest many of the players have ever experienced. This means the North London side will go into the campaign with monumental fitness levels which will benefit them, despite the new five substitutions per match rule.
With this in mind, many Spurs fans will be wondering, what will Antonio Conte’s starting line-up be when they host Southampton on the opening day of the Premier League season?
This is how I currently believe Tottenham will line-up:
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
Despite the arrival of Fraser Forster, Hugo Lloris will be the number one at Tottenham until his time is up at the club. Approaching his tenth year as a Lilywhite, Lloris is one of the best shot stoppers in world football and very few goalkeepers would knock the World Cup winner off the team sheet.
Right Centre-Back: Cristian Romero
Another certainty in the team and hopefully will be for many years to come. One of the best young central defenders in world football who displays aggression, flair and, most importantly, an excellent reading of the game.
Centre-Back: Eric Dier
It is no coincidence that when Eric Dier was injured for a period of last season, Tottenham conceded far more chances and goals as a result. The extra security the former Sporting defender brings to the team is undeniable and if he continues in this vein of form he may even return to international football with England.
Left Centre-Back: Ben Davies
One of the unsung heroes of last season, Ben Davies deserves to retain his place in the side after consistent performances under Antonio Conte. It is this type of consistency the Italian manager will be looking for to secure the three points against Southampton on opening day.
The recent addition of Clement Lenglet will be used more as the season develops due to the vast quantity of games being played.
Right Wing-Back: Matt Doherty
Despite the signing of Djed Spence, as well as a positive end to the season for Emerson Royal, Matt Doherty would be the obvious choice for opening day. With performances Cafu would have been proud of, notably against Leeds and Everton, Doherty has had a resurgence in form under Antonio Conte. The Italian appears to favour the Irish international and with Spence being described as a ‘club signing’ it would appear Conte may stick with Doherty.
However, we should not totally count out Lucas Moura being converted to wing-back as he has played there during pre-season and Conte has previous in converting wingers to this role.
Left Wing-Back: Ivan Perišić
A winger turned wing-back under Conte, Ivan Perisic is a proven winner and is a marquee signing for Spurs. Having won the Champions League, two Bundesliga titles and a Scudetto he will add a wealth of experience to this team and help towards ending Tottenham’s trophy drought.
Despite Ryan Sessegnon experiencing an impressive rate of growth last season, the arrival of the Croatian has made it harder to be a regular. This being said Sessegnon will still feature in a key role for the Lilywhites this season with Champions League football and two domestic cups up for grabs.
Right Central Midfield: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
Having signed Yves Bissouma, one of the best midfielders in the league, many would remove Højbjerg from their starting line-up. However, the Dane is someone I currently believe will keep his place in the team due to his leadership and impressive consistency since he signed from Southampton.
Bissouma is a player of real quality and will break into the team in due course, but he has not played under Conte for long enough. I cannot see the former Inter manager removing an often vital cog for Tottenham in Højbjerg this early in the season, especially with his performances being of a high standard since Conte’s arrival.
Left Central Midfield: Rodrigo Bentancur
The pairing that ended last season in midfield deserve to start the season where they left off. Rodrigo Bentancur was underappreciated by Juventus and since joining Tottenham has adapted to the Premier League like a duck to water. His composure on the ball is mind blowing and can often get his side out of a sticky situation defensively. He has also shown no sign of slowing down during Tottenham’s pre-season tour in South Korea, with a standout performance against Sevilla.
With Oliver Skipp also returning from injury, along with the ‘Young African Player of the Year’ Pape Matar Sarr, competition in the midfield is not hard to come by. It is likely Skipp will be given the opportunity to regain the form he showed before injury last season, and Sarr also will receive gametime with the packed fixture list Tottenham face.
Right Winger: Dejan Kulusevski
The man who got the most assists in the Premier League in 2022 despite not making his full debut until a late February victory against Manchester City. Kulusevski’s all-round attacking play is perfectly suited to Conte’s system with his element of unpredictability being key to his assists tally and goalscoring. Another instance of daylight robbery from Juventus paying dividends for the North London side.
Richarlison is clearly going to be wanting game time after signing for £60 million, but he will have to work for it as Tottenham possess one of the best frontlines in world football. As with other new signings, his time will come to display his hard working style of play and attacking talent to the demanding Spurs fans.
Striker: Harry Kane
There is no need to explain why Harry Kane makes it into the starting line-up.
Kane was linked with a move to Manchester City in the 2021/22 Summer window and lost the love of many Spurs fans in the process. He won their love back with one of the best individual performances of any Tottenham player in the Premier League when the Lilywhites completed the double over the reigning champions at the Etihad. The Walthamstow born striker will be hoping to finally win silverware this season with both club and country. One of our own.
Left Winger: Heung-Min Son
There is also no need to explain why Heung-Min Son makes it into the starting line-up.
Having won the Premier League Golden Boot last season, with 23 non-penalty goals, Son will be hoping to continue to improve in this campaign. His father has remarked that he is not a world-class player which should be enough motivation for the South Korean to prove he is part of the elite. The seven time Asian Footballer of the Year will be hoping to continue his record breaking partnership with Harry Kane and deliver a trophy to North London.
With plenty of time to go in pre-season preparations, places are there to be fought for. Conte’s ruthless style of player management means he will not accept anything below excellence and will expect players to suffer and give everything they can to win games. Spurs will be hoping this passion is deep-rooted into all the players and they can kick-off the season firing on all cylinders.