Friday, July 1, 2022

Spurs Acquire Richarlison; Lukaku Seals Inter Return

Tottenham Hotspur added to their transfer window haul with the purchase of Richarlison from Everton. The north London club has been aggressive this transfer window, further evidence that Manager Antonio Conte has commanded the confidence of club ownership after impressively qualifying for Champions League football with a top four finish. Richarlison is Spurs’ fourth acquisition in this current window. Conte made his first impact on the club’s transfer business, however, last winter with the acquisition of Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus. Those players strengthened a roster deemed severely lacking by Conte when he took over the club last season and helped put the club in Champions League position.

Richarlison fits with Conte’s desire for proven players. The Brazilian forward scored 53 goals in 153 appearances across all competitions for the Toffees and his intangibles and timely goals played a leading role in Everton’s late season 2021/22 survival run. Richarlison now becomes part of a reinforced Spurs attacking force. The Brazilian’s ability to play any position across the front line provides an attractive backup for Harry Kane at striker while Richarlison shares and competes for time on the flanks with the likes of Son Heung-min, Kulusevski and recently acquired Ivan Perisic.

With his front-line needs addressed and Brighton’s Yves Bissouma signed to solidify the midfield, Conte now reportedly has his sight set on defensive reinforcement with Barcelona’s Clement Lenglet believed to be in the crosshairs. The departure of Everton’s most valuable player, meanwhile, is a blow for a club which just barely survived relegation. The club’s financial position, however, left little choice. The Toffees have incurred staggering losses in recent years and stand accused of Financial Fair Play violations in a complaint filed by relegated Burnley. Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is reportedly in discussions to sell the struggling Merseyside club. The sale of Richarlison will hopefully spare the sale of homegrown star Anthony Gordon who is coveted by other clubs including Spurs. Toffee Manager Frank Lampard, meanwhile, has limited funds for incoming transfers. Reported interest in the free transfer of former Manchester United player Jesse Lingard thus makes sense as the Toffees try to fill the hole left by Richarlison’s departure.

A heartwarming farewell message from Richarlison to an appreciative Everton fan base was an amicable, if sad, parting compared to the bitter departure of Romelu Lukaku from Chelsea to Inter Milan. Both Richarlison and Lukaku led their clubs in goals across all competitions this past season. Chelsea fans, however, were little impressed with Lukaku’s production and commitment. Chelsea finalized the loan of the Belgian striker to former club Inter Milan this week amid further revelations of the level of discord and unhappiness which clouded Lukaku’s Premier League season. Chelsea Manager Thomas Tuchel now stands accused of making derisive remarks regarding Lukaku’s relationship with former Inter Milan Manager Antonio Conte. Chelsea fans, meanwhile, are angered by the revelation that Lukau was in touch with current Inter Milan Manager Simone Inzaghi throughout last season to set the stage for a return to Italy. Lukau had publicly voiced his unhappiness in London and desire for a return to Milan in a misguided interview last December. Despite the departure of their leading goal scorer, Chelsea supporters are only saddened that this week’s transaction represents only a loan and not a permanent goodbye.

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