What Rodrigo Bentancur did to wow Antonio Conte and highlight Fabio Paratici Spurs masterstroke


Fabio Paratici may have left it rather late in the January transfer market to make his move but he does appear to have pulled off quite the deal for Tottenham.

Targeting a new right wing-back, central midfielder and striker before the transfer window slammed shut, the managing director of football only managed to solve one of those positions for Antonio Conte.

The addition of Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus saw Spurs strengthen in midfield, with fellow new arrival Dejan Kulusevski giving the team more options in attack due to his versatility.

There may have been one or two grumbles from some fans over Paratici returning to his former club on the final day of the window to finally sign two players but the duo did catch the eye in Saturday’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Brighton & Hove Albion.

Starting on the bench at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium after arriving in the capital this week, Kulusevski was introduced in place of Lucas Moura in the 68th minute and did have a couple of opportunities to attack the Seagulls’ backline, most notably when he teed up Steven Bergwijn only for his teammate to blaze over from close range.

Bentancur did have to wait a further nine minutes to make his bow for Tottenham but the Uruguayan was the one who made the biggest impression in his short time on the pitch.

Replacing Harry Winks in midfield to partner Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the 24-year-old immediately looked right at home and produced an assured performance to help Spurs see out the game with Brighton looking to find a way back into the contest.

Aggressive off the ball as he looked to break up play, win possession and get the team moving forward again, on the ball he was extremely classy, composed and more than looked the part.



Rodrigo Bentancur alongside Harry Kane during Tottenham's 3-1 FA Cup win over Brighton & Hove Albion
Rodrigo Bentancur alongside Harry Kane during Tottenham’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Brighton & Hove Albion

It didn’t take Bentancur long to wow the 54,697 fans inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Conte and his teammates for that matter as he produced a moment of real quality on the edge of his own box.

Dragging the ball back to fool substitute Evan Ferguson and subsequently gain an extra yard of space, he then passed the ball back to Sergio Reguilon at left-back to help get Spurs out of danger.

Many fans applauded his outstanding play and duly realised that Conte and Tottenham have some player on their hands.

Bentancur even had time to pick up his first booking in his cameo appearance as he dragged Yves Bissouma to the ground as the Brighton midfielder looked to advance towards the box.

Tottenham fans will see more of their new player over the coming week with Southampton and Wolves on the agenda but as first impressions go his debut was extremely impressive.

Speaking to the media after a brilliant showing against Brighton following a tough January, Conte opened up on his new additions and admitted that he was happy to give them some valuable playing time as they look to adapt to their new surroundings.

“It was important also to breathe the atmosphere for the two new signings, for us, for Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur,” he explained.

“It was important to come in and to understand the intensity of this league. I repeat, two good players, two young players with talent. They can help us.

“Rodrigo, despite his age, only 24-years-old, has a lot of experience because he played 120 games for Juventus. Kulusevski, the same. I think they can help us.

“I’m pleased that I gave them the opportunity to come in and also breathe this fantastic atmosphere in our stadium.

“Our fans, the noise tonight was so intense that it was also very difficult to communicate with the players.”

Bentancur and Kulusevski will soon be back in action at their new home as Southampton are to come on Wednesday evening in the Premier League.

Conte will now have to decide whether or not to hand the duo a Premier League bow, with Bentancur perhaps the one out of the two who could come straight into the XI.

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While it’s not clear just yet if Oliver Skipp will be fit enough to return after missing out against Brighton with a groin injury, Conte is going to have a big decision on his hands when it comes to his midfield two.

Skipp has been extremely impressive in the middle of the park for Tottenham after returning from such a successful season on loan at Norwich City in 2020/21, with Hojbjerg the midfield general for Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and now Conte.

The Italian really does have a tough choice on his hands but Bentancur does look like he is going to play a big role for Spurs over the coming months and years.

More than playing his part in Juventus’ recent Serie A success, Paratici may have just made a signing in Bentancur that can give Tottenham a midfield upgrade and help them get over the line in the Champions League race in the process.

The £15.86m deal, which is payable over three financial years and may increase by an additional £5m if certain objectives are met, could prove to be quite the snip for Tottenham.





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