The January transfer window brought a new hero to the Tottenham fans, Dejan Kulusevski, as shown by the chorus made up on the notes of the Abba song “Gimme Gimme Gimme” for the young Swedish player.
Since his arrival he made 7 appearances, 2 goals and 3 assist, giving an important contribution to the team, which in the last 10 games in Premier League has recorded 5 wins and 5 losses, alternating bad defeats like with Burnley and the last one with the Red Devils and important victories, such as the 3-2 win away against the Citizens and the last 5-0 with Everton.
The explosion of his career began at Parma when, on loan from Atalanta, he became the best young player in Serie A in the 2019/2020 season with 10 goals and 8 assists, and also becoming the first player born in 2000 to reach such goal achievement in a single season. In the same season he became one of the main offensive weapons of coach D’Aversa who gave him so many responsibilities to guide offensive action of the team even at his young age.
He has started as an offensive midfielder in Atalanta’s academy but during the Parma season he played in different positions: the best for him was the right-wing forward, so he had the opportunity to move on the entire front of attack: Kulusevski had more than the 80% of successful passes, with 36 games played (33 of them as a starter).
The current number 21 of the London team has recently rediscovered its main skills shown in Parma’s year: passing, technique, ability to dribble and score.
The Premier League, after struggling a lot in the first half of the season with Juventus, due to the bad performance of the team, seems like the best league for his performance: he has more space to play his game and in the system of Antonio Conte has gained an important role.
That is also testified by his centrality in the action of the game: in only 7 games he made 163 completed passes (+85% of total passes), 8 of which were key passes, 13 crosses and 18 shots.
On the contrary, in the first half of the season, he failed to impress with Juventus jersey: in 19 games he made only 230 passes (with 80% accuracy), 7 key passes, 8 crosses and 12 shots.
The number of total passes and the average of passes, key passes, shots and shots on goal is very clear to explain his approach with the team and how Kulusevski seems better at Tottenham.
Facing the Premier League was something of a baptism of fire, but the Swede took it in his stride. The performances recorded and analyzed by the WSF Performance Index show the clear increase in the player’s execution and achievements: indeed there was a +8% growth of the average performance since joining the Spurs team.
In recent matches he had some positive peaks, like against Manchester City and Leeds United, in which his Performance Index was 7.6 and 7.2 collected respectively for statistics such as 13 and 10 duels of which 9 and 3 won, and 31 and 18 completed passes related to his two goals scored, one per game.
Precisely, in the Manchester City game he had the best WSF Performance Index: after 4 minutes into the match, he took a pass from Son Heung-min and also notched his first goal, opening the scoring. Then, he registered the best performance in terms of goals, assists, shots and even for pass efficiency (18 out of 21 were successfully made). Indeed he made only one shot on goal, achieving 100% accuracy, and he also assisted Harry Kane’s game-winning goal that gave Tottenham the victory.
In the second decisive display in a row, Dejan Kulusevski scored in the 15th minute against Leeds and gave an important impact with passes (31 completed passes out of 38), he lost only 8 balls, and won 70% of duels: he made all of this without playing the whole game, but 78 minutes, proving how the 21-years-old player has adapted impressively to English football.
Another important stat that clarifies the difference between his role in the two different teams is the minutes that he played: since he arrived at Tottenham he played 90 minutes 3 times, the same number of whole games that he has played with Bianconeri. This could be highlighted as a huge difference of trust between the two coaches.
The main strength of the Swede is his versatility. Indeed he can play in three different roles: midfielder in the five-a-side line; winger in the 3-4-3 and attacking midfielder.
The last one is his main role that has not only tasks of a midfielder but is a mix between a number 10 and a winger, that’s where he can better show his abilities, giving Spurs even more goal-scoring threats, this also gives Conte the opportunity to switch between various modules to adapt to the game.
“For sure, the squad is now more complete. We tried to fill the right role with one midfielder in Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski can play as a No.10 and also he can play as a wing-back. Now we’re more complete than before. Now it’s time to work very hard to try to improve.” the Coach’s statements.
Data show even how Conte has been able to find him the role that most exalts him: in 30 games among Serie A, Premier League, Coppa Italia and Fa Cup the roles that made him perform the best were right wing (5 games with 2 goals and 1 assist) and attacking midfielder (7 games with 2 goals and 3 assists). Thus, we can state the current one, that is a hybrid between these two, perfectly fits him.