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Tottenham’s £25m “huge talent” could be Conte’s new Hakimi
Tottenham Hotspur have made huge strides under Antonio Conte’s leadership, yet remain painfully stuck in the past with certain pieces of their game.
Having beaten Manchester City, they outlined their ability to live up to the big occasion and topple one of the giants of English football. However, they remain equally as susceptible to losing to a team fighting relegation, which makes any potential title push in the coming years obsolete.
It is an impossible feat unless you can start defeating the smaller teams and breaking down stubborn defences who are happy to sit and pray for a point.
With Conte’s system, the bulk of the width and attacking impetus in those areas comes from the wing-backs. Pedro Porro’s big money January signing was indicative of this, as the Italian is willing to fork out a total of £44m come the summer.
Whilst Emerson Royal has upped his game of late, it is expected the Spaniard will be the long-term star down the right. That means they need someone of equal quality down the left to ensure teams don’t just shift their defensive focus solely onto the new man.
Therefore, Conte could look to really ramp up the necessity for Ryan Sessegnon to fulfil that role.
Could Sessegnon reach the levels of Hakimi?
Can Ryan Sessegnon be Spurs’ own Hakimi?
Having signed from Fulham in 2019, an initial £25m deal made this a particularly large outlay for a Championship star. That being said, he had just scored 15 and assisted six as the Cottagers earned promotion whilst also outlining his defensive capabilities.
The English youngster had all the qualities that suggested he would be the perfect modern-day wing-back, however, he struggled initially to adapt to life at a top club.
That said, he had recently endeared himself to the manager before injury cut his playtime short. Conte even took to the media to claim: “We are talking about now a young player but a reliable player who I can count on for games in the Premier League or Champions League, for every game.”
He continued: “In that role I am OK because I have (Ivan) Perisic and Sessegnon, two important players”.
Should the 5 foot 10 speedster continue growing in that role of left wing-back, the 53-year-old could nurture him in the image of Achraf Hakimi, who now plies his trade at Paris Saint-Germain.
The Moroccan earned fame for his displays at Inter Milan in their title-winning campaign, as he scored seven and assisted ten. It outlines just how crucial that role is for this particular system, and should buoy Sessegnon – who has been the club’s “surprise of the season” – in the words of Seb Jenkins – to try and reach that level.
With just two goals to his name this season the “huge talent” – as dubbed by former Fulham teammate Stefan Johansen – is far from where he needs to be, but ranking in the top 3% for touches in the opposition penalty area when compared to other full-backs across Europe bodes well for the threat he could pose.
The 22-year-old clearly boasts the attacking know-how, and should he add some quality and cutting edge to his play he could truly be Conte’s next Hakimi for the left flank.
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