By Jonathan Veal, PA
Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is excited about the potential of Dejan Kulusevski after the Sweden international continued his strong start to life at the club.
The 21-year-old was a January deadline day arrival from Juventus and has hit the ground running, notching a fifth assist during the 5-1 rout of Newcastle.
He has also scored twice in that time and is forming a deadly partnership with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, with the trio having a combined total of 27 goal contributions in the last eight Premier League games.
Conte, who tried to sign the winger when he was in charge of Inter Milan, believes he is a big player for now and the future.
“We are talking about a player that I know very well, because he played in Italy,” he said. “He started to play with Atalanta, then Atalanta brought (sent) him on loan to Parma, and he played in Serie A. And he played in a fantastic way.
“When I was coach of Inter, I tried to ask him, but then Juventus moved before. Maybe they put more money than us at the time, and then they bought this player.
“We are talking about a player who is only 21 years old. And he has to continue to play this way. Because he’s strong physically, big engine, he’s good technically.
A team goal. 👌 pic.twitter.com/dpphPtqogo
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) April 3, 2022
“I think for Tottenham, this is a great signing for the present and for the future. We are talking about really, really strong.”
He arrived on the same day as midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur, who also signed from Juventus, and the pair have helped transform Tottenham’s season.
“I said that with these two players, despite that we lost four players in January, with these two new signings we made this squad more complete, with more balance,” Conte added.
“I think that it’s very important in football to have a clear idea, and to have a good vision. Because in this way, the situation is more simple.”
Newcastle were lambs to the slaughter in the second half as they slipped to a third successive loss.
After going in front through Fabian Schar’s first-half free-kick, goals from Ben Davies, Matt Doherty, Son Heung-min, Emerson Royal and Steven Bergwijn made it an afternoon to forget in north London.
Boss Eddie Howe is hopeful England defender Kieran Trippier will be fit before the end of the season to boost a side that are not yet safe from relegation.
“His injury is healing,” Howe said. “It’s not totally healed. That’s where it is.
“We’ll be able to start pushing him, not as quickly as we initially wanted to. But I still think he will play this season, but with no definite date. He’s making good progress.”