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Conte could soon unearth his own Saliba in Tottenham’s “swashbuckling” £20m talent

Conte could soon unearth his own Saliba in Tottenham’s “swashbuckling” £20m talent

At Tottenham Hotspur, Djed Spence frequently appeared discontented, isolated, and alone. However, during the previous season, he was a “swashbuckling” menace, as described by Ian Wright, causing significant damage to both Championship and Premier League defenses while playing as a right-back.

Certainly, Djed Spence made a significant impact with an outstanding showing against Arsenal in the FA Cup last year, when he was on loan at Nottingham Forest, and his performance was memorable for all the wrong reasons for Arsenal.

 He caused Nuno Tavares a lot of trouble in that game, which caught the attention of many Premier League clubs. Consequently, last summer, he chose to sign for Antonio Conte’s team, for a fee of £20m, after playing for Middlesbrough.

Regrettably, things have not gone as expected for Djed Spence since he joined the club. He has played for only three minutes in the Premier League and has made a total of six appearances for the team since his arrival in North London. 

This is a puzzling situation for a player who possesses so many exciting attributes. He is an explosive attacking threat on the right flank and appeared to be the ideal type of player to excel in Antonio Conte’s system, which relies on wing-backs.

It seems that Antonio Conte does not hold Djed Spence in high regard, given that he brought in Pedro Porro, another right-back, on transfer deadline day. 

As a result, Spence was loaned out to Rennes, which was perhaps due to his own request to play more football. It is understandable that he would be keen to feature more regularly, especially since he had not been given much game time at Tottenham.

Djed Spence is currently experiencing a much more dynamic period in France, where he has played for 264 minutes in three Ligue 1 matches. He has also made appearances in the Europa League, and although he has not scored or provided any assists yet, he is demonstrating why he is such a gifted player, despite a slow start.

Djed Spence is widely recognized for his excellent offensive skills and his ability to beat defenders, as evidenced by his three successful dribbles per game. 

However, his defensive performances have been equally impressive during his time in France, with an average of three tackles per game, which is among the highest in the league. 

Although the sample size is small, only nine players who have started more than once have registered more tackles per game in the entire Ligue 1 division. If Spence continues to perform well, he could well earn a place in Tottenham’s starting lineup once he returns to London.

 In recent years, Ligue 1 has proven to be a suitable place for young players from the Premier League to develop their skills.

The experience of William Saliba, another defender who was brought over from France for a hefty fee of £27m in 2019, demonstrates the benefits of playing in Ligue 1. 

He had to wait until 2022 to make his competitive debut for Arsenal, but during that time, he spent three years on loan in France, playing for St Etienne and Marseille and developing his skills. 

Last season, he won the league’s best young player award, and now he is a standout player in the Premier League, having started every match during Arsenal’s title challenge.

 While Djed Spence may not be able to lead Tottenham to a trophy charge upon his return, Antonio Conte can take heart from the fact that Ligue 1 is an excellent place for young defenders to hone their talents.

The young wing-back is already making a good impression, and it’s possible that by summer, they will be prepared to play more often at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. They may even have a similar impact to Saliba in the city.

Conte could soon unearth his own Saliba in Tottenham’s “swashbuckling” £20m talent

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