The exit in the FA Cup at the hands of Middlesbrough was followed by a lot of backlash by the Tottenham Hotspur fans and Emerson Royal was the player in the spotlight. A late goal by youngster Josh Cobum’s solitary goal was sufficient for Chris Wilder’s men to progress to the next round in the FA cup. Emerson, who made a substitute appearance in the 2nd half of the game had a performance to forget. Let’s take look at the Brazilian’s rather peculiar move to the North London club in detail and why the Spanish media has labelled him as ‘sale of the year’ for FC Barcelona.
The Transfer Saga
Nuno Espirito Santo, the ex-Spurs boss, who faced the sack mid-season due to a string of poor performances after 5 months of being appointed had identified 4 key positions – a backup goalkeeper, centre-back, backup winger and a fullback – to strengthen in the summer transfer window. Daniel Levy and the newly appointed Managing Director of Football Fabio Paratici worked in unison and managed to sign the players asked by Nuno after spending close to 60 million euros in the transfer window. Emerson Royal was certainly the most unexpected signing out of the 4 from FC Barcelona for a fee of 30 million euros which made him the most expensive acquisition of the transfer window.
FC Barcelona had activated the buyout clause in Emerson’s contract when he was at Real Betis which was around 15 million. He was deemed to be a key part of Ronald Koeman’s plans for the new season but the financial troubles at the club meant a possible sale for a profit wouldn’t be ruled out. The exit of club legend Lionel Messi along with the departures of Antoine Griezmann and Miralem Pjanic ensured the wage bill of the club was reduced by a considerable margin and the new signings Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero were successfully registered. The club needed the money from player sales to balance their financial books and Emerson’s transfer certainly helped the cause.
Tottenham decided to pursue the transfer seriously and spent a whopping 30 million euros on the fullback which was twice the amount Barcelona spent in the same window to activate the player’s buyout clause. Mateu Alemany, the Sports Director of FC Barcelona, certainly received plaudits for this deal which was completed on the 31st of August 2021.
Life So Far in the Premier League
Emerson’s career at Spurs had a very rough start with the Brazilian failing to impress Nuno and his defensive weaknesses certainly left the team exposed on the right flank. After the arrival of Antonio Conte and the switch to a back 3 has kind of revived the player’s career with the extra centre back helping the full back’s defensive problems. He has adjusted well to the new setup and has looked solid in the wingback position but the stats don’t justify some of his performances. The performance against Middlesbrough certainly will be one to forget but Antonio Conte can work his magic on the 23-year-old and turn him into one of the finest wingbacks in the league. Victor Moses is a player who had a similar start to life in the 2016-2017 title-winning season but Antonio Conte was able to convert the winger into a wingback and his attacking contributions proved vital to the Blues lifting the Premier League title.