Ange could brutally ditch £25m Spurs dud who blows “hot and cold” after signing Johnson

The Lilywhites could see an inconsistent £25m dud finally ditched following their stellar Deadine Day signing.

Tottenham Hotspur’s transfer window held much importance given it was Ange Postecoglou’s first, and marked the start of what many hope will be a revolution set to expunge the failed tenures of Antonio Conte, Jose Mourinho and Nuno Espirito Santo from their recent memory.

Poor recruitment strategies with regard to both players and managers have hampered a club that was once poised to enjoy a long-lasting stay around the top of the Premier League, but already their new manager has begun work on cultivating a new atmosphere, one of positivity and good energy at last.

It is fair to say great strides have already been made towards reaching that goal, with the signings of James Maddison, Micky van de Ven and more all aiding in the slowly returning feelgood factor surrounding the Lilywhites.

Therefore, that makes the £47.5m expended on Brennan Johnson an investment many are willing to believe in, given how the former Nottingham Forest flyer was so sought-after by Postecoglou.

Whilst many might baulk at the fee, should he prove to reach his potential and add to their already potent front line, it will take no time at all for that figure to become a coup.

Especially given his presence alone should likely force his teammates to start improving their respective games, knowing that a poor performance will be capitalised upon by the dynamic 22-year-old.

One such early casualty could be Dejan Kulusevski, whose displays on the right wing have left little to be desired after just four league games.

Why did Spurs sign Brennan Johnson?

As aforementioned, the signing of Johnson is one that has drawn plenty of interest, with some questioning such a lofty sum for an unproven asset.

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Despite that, pundit Darren Ambrose still remains confident, telling The Transfer Show on Sky Sports: “He will hate me for saying this. But I think Brennan is a better player than his Dad was and he was a fantastic player. But the pace he has got. He must be one of the quickest players in the Premier League. He’s not a like-for-like replacement for Harry Kane. We know that.

“He is more of a wide player. But I think you can integrate him into that number nine role. It’s blase to say £50m isn’t a lot of money. But in the crazy world of football, it’s not that much. I think this would be a fantastic signing for Spurs.”

Those who might laugh at such a deal are likely unaware of just how well-suited the Wales international is to Postecoglou’s system, which demands plenty from the attackers.

He even outlined this back in February, speaking on how he wants his strikers to earn their chances just like Kyogo Furuhashi did at Celtic: “It’s not just about his goals. They are the most important thing, but he works so hard.

He’s another that, whatever rewards he gets, they are hard-earned. He’s not floating about just waiting for a chance. He’s running his socks off to do things other strikers won’t do because he knows it’s the right thing for the team.”

Therefore, when comparing Johnson with other forwards across Europe, it is pleasing to see that he sits in the top 9% for progressive carries per 90 as well as the top 11% for tackles per 90 and the top 19% for blocks per 90, via FBref.

That’s without mentioning his eight goals and three assists in the league last season, starring for a side that narrowly avoided the drop in what was his first year in the English top flight.

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It should come as no surprise to see him lauded, with his physical assets having been outlined by journalist Ethan Lamb too, who described him as a “speed demon” after being clocked as the fastest player in the Premier League last season.

However, to truly explain why Spurs decided that he was worth spending so much on, it simply takes the glowing testimony of Postecoglou himself: “He’s a real threat in the front third, he’s different from what we’ve already got, he’s young and ambitious. It’s no secret that’s the model for me.

“It’s just as much about the person as well as the footballer, and looking at him he’s going to fit in really well with this group. He’s ambitious and hungry and wants to take his game to the next level. The technical and the physical attributes he has, he should fit in really well.”

Such a ringing endorsement helps to summarise why fellow winger Kulusevski should be running scared.

How many goals has Dejan Kulusevski scored?

It is with great disappointment that Sweden international has started off this campaign in a similarly toothless fashion to his last, as the 23-year-old still seems miles away from the form he exhibited within his first six months at the club.

Joining from Juventus on an initial loan deal, Kulusevski scored five goals and assisted a further eight in just 18 Premier League games, spearheading their late push for that coveted fourth-place spot. However, the year following he would score just two goals across the entire season, coming under severe criticism.

He has remained a constant in the starting side though when fit, with the £25m unloaded this summer likely banking on the tricky winger recapturing that form of old.

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And yet, his start to the season has proven unpredictable, with just one goal in five appearances across all competitions, but an average Sofascore rating in the league of 7.13.

Therefore, it seems he is still yet to escape the words of pundit and former Brighton and Hove Albion forward Glen Murray, who told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport (via TEAMtalk) back in September 2022:

“He (Richarlison) seems to be the only one (in a groove), Harry Kane to a certain extent. But Kulusevski has been blowing hot and cold. I would say he hasn’t hit the heights we saw him hit when he came in last season.”

That being said, despite his form continuing to escape him, this trust the Swede somehow merits suggests it will be an exciting battle for that right-wing spot, at the very least handing Postecoglou more attacking options; not that they needed any after their 5-2 pummeling of Burnley at the weekend though.

Johnson’s ability to play up front does make him a versatile option too, but Kulusevski must remain vigilant given what journalist Tim Spiers recently wrote regarding his favoured position:

“Staying wide is what Postecoglou wants from his wide forwards and the fact that Johnson is a right-footed, right-sided player may mean he’s asked to be the player Postecoglou likes to arrive at the back post from crosses directed from the left flank, something Kulusevski hasn’t proved a natural at, with the Swede’s strengths coming more from creativity than goalscoring.”

Whilst Kulusevski must now up his game immediately if he is to keep their new £47.5m signing out of the team, the new boy must also seek to hit the ground running in order to capitalise on the uncertainty surrounding that right wing position.