Tottenham: Why Richarlison may FINALLY be a perfect Harry Kane understudy after some awful misfires


Following in the path of Harry Kane is no easy task – as a few former Tottenham forwards have discovered – and new signing Richarlison will become the latest to try his luck after joining from Everton.

The Brazilian forward has wrapped up his £60million move, £50m up front with around £10m in add-ons, a fee approaching the club’s record signing – and now Spurs have some serious firepower to challenge the elite. 

The 25-year-old has become Antonio Conte’s fourth summer signing after Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster and Yves Bissouma, as Spurs continue to rebuild their squad ahead of a return to the Champions League. 

Everton forward Richarlison has completed his £60million move to Tottenham Hotspur

He is poised to become the latest in a long line of stars to act as backup to striker Harry Kane

He is poised to become the latest in a long line of stars to act as backup to striker Harry Kane

After several misfires, the Brazilian star has the quality to challenge star forward Kane

After several misfires, the Brazilian star has the quality to challenge star forward Kane

Richarlison, while potentially capable of starting on the right wing and acting as cover for Golden Boot joint winner Son Heung-min on the left, will also almost certainly be the first to step in if Kane misses out.

The England captain is a world-class striker and one of the Premier League greats, but has struggled with injuries at times amid a massive workload for club and country, especially given the club’s lack of adequate competition up front.

Many second-choice strikers have tried and failed to fill his shoes in years gone by – while experiments with youngsters haven’t paid off either, with Son seemingly the only player capable of handling the responsibility.

So below, Sportsmail looks at Tottenham’s questionable history of poor back-up forward – and discusses why Richarlison has the quality to eclipse them all.

Spurs manager Antonio Conte (left) knows he needs cover if the England captain gets injured

Spurs manager Antonio Conte (left) knows he needs cover if the England captain gets injured

Roberto Soldado 

After a 30-goal season for Valencia in Spain, former Real Madrid striker Soldado arrived in north London for a then-club record fee of £26m.

He scored a (controversial) penalty on his Spurs debut against Crystal Palace, but finished the season with just six league goals, only two of which came from open play.

The following campaign, he scored just once in 24 appearances. The club promptly sold him for a £16m loss, two years after he had joined. 

Roberto Soldado is one of many players who struggled to play second fiddle to Kane up front

Roberto Soldado is one of many players who struggled to play second fiddle to Kane up front

Vincent Janssen 

Another who bagged plenty in Europe but could not translate that form to the Premier League was Dutch striker Vincent Janssen.

Janssen scored 31 in 49 games for AZ Alkmaar in Holland, and impressed as he scored in a 2-1 win against England at Wembley in March 2016, before joining Spurs for £17m in July 2016.

When Kane picked up an ankle injury in September, he had his chance to impress in the first-team, but did not take it.

His first goal from open play wasn’t until March and he only scored two league goals in 27 games, one of which was a penalty. After an average loan at Turkish side Fenerbahce, he moved to Mexican side Monterrey.

Dutch striker Vincent Janssen only scored two league goals in 27 games in his first campaign

Dutch striker Vincent Janssen only scored two league goals in 27 games in his first campaign

Fernando Llorente 

Llorente was 32 when he signed from Swansea after scoring 15 in 33 games for the Welsh side.

He had Premier League experience but was coming into his 15th season as a professional and, although he proved a useful hold-up player and target man, did not really have the pace for the very top level.

A reliable professional and impact substitute, he did score some very important goals – namely a winner against Manchester City in the 2018-19 Champions League quarter-finals before a crucial goal in the famous semi-final comeback against Ajax.

That said, two Premier League goals in 36 games across two seasons is hardly an awe-inspiring record.

Fernando Llorente scored several important goals but hardly had an awe-inspiring record

Fernando Llorente scored several important goals but hardly had an awe-inspiring record

Carlos Vinicius 

What is it with Spurs and signing European strikers after one good season? Brazilian Carlos Vinicius did net 24 in 47 for Benfica in the Primeira Liga and moved to Spurs on loan for a small fee in October 2020.

But with Kane playing 49 games in all competitions that campaign, opportunities were few and far between – and he didn’t impress all that much when they did come.

He scored a seemingly respectable 10 in 22 games – but half of those came against eighth-tier side Marine (three) and Bulgarian side Ludogorets Razgrad (two).

He only scored one Premier League goal – a four-yard tap-in into an open goal. 

Brazilian Carlos Vinicius (left) only scored one Premier League goal - a tap-in into an open goal

Brazilian Carlos Vinicius (left) only scored one Premier League goal – a tap-in into an open goal

Troy Parrott and Dane Scarlett 

Spurs have even turned to youth in their attempts to provide backup to Kane. Youth products Troy Parrott have both had (admittedly limited) chances in the first team at points in the last three seasons.

Irish international Parrott, now 20, made his professional debut at the age of 17 against League Two Colchester – which Spurs lost on penalties. Four appearances that season resulted in zero goals.

After a goalless loan in the Championship to Millwall, he was sent out to League One Ipswich in February 2021, scoring twice in 18 league games, before improving in last season’s loan to third-tier MK Dons.

Scarlett, meanwhile, has impressed at international age-grade level, with 12 goals in 12 appearances for England’s Under-19 side, the 18-year-old has no goals in 10 appearances over the last two years.

Richarlison may not have too much trouble living up to the previous contenders!

Why Richarlison can be different 

Richarlison offers something almost none of the previous players to be the No 2 striker at Spurs – he has Premier League experience.

Llorente – who we’ll discuss later – had a good season at Swansea before joining, but every single other striker had no history in senior English football. 

Soldado, Janssen and Vinicius, for example, struggled to adapt to the relentless pace and physicality of the Premier League, while Richarlison, slim but muscular and resiliently built to withstand hard knocks, has five years’ experience in the top-flight.

At Everton, Richarlison has scored a superb 53 goals in 152 appearances in all competitions

At Everton, Richarlison has scored a superb 53 goals in 152 appearances in all competitions

After moving to the Premier League aged 20, he enjoyed a decent breakthrough season at Watford, scoring five goals but impressing with his mature, dynamic showings and earning himself a £35m move to Everton, rising to £50m with add-ons.

Since then, largely playing on the left wing, he has scored an impressive 53 goals in 152 appearances in all competitions, at a goals ratio better than one-in-three.

His 10 Premier League goals last season, often filling in as a central striker while Dominic Calvert-Lewin was out, was a crucial factor in helping the Toffees avoid relegation. 

He’s pacy, skilful, great with his head, is a relentless worker, can press brilliantly, covers multiple positions and even takes spot-kicks. If Kane or Son miss out, he’s a natural choice to come in.

Italian manager Conte may even decide fitting him into the first team in a punchy front three is the best option – expect him to succeed at White Hart Lane.



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