Who is Ruslan Malinovskyi? The creator to complete Tottenham's attack
There has been plenty of change at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this summer. No fewer than seven players have arrived, with Destiny Udogie completing his move to Tottenham earlier this week. He'll spend the rest of the season on loan at Udinese and there are suggestions that Spurs will make one final move before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
With Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso shifted out on loan to Napoli and Villarreal, respectively, and Harry Winks still linked with a summer exit, Antonio Conte will be reluctant to see out the window short on central midfield options. The issue for Spurs still is that they need another midfielder to bring that touch of class in the final third, a player who can pry open a defence to add another dimension to a north London side that is now well versed in the demands of a 3-4-3 setup under Conte.
Conte favours the system and for good reason, with Son Heung-Min and Dejan Kulusevski quality options to support Harry Kane in attack. However, Spurs perhaps need a creative midfielder that'll help beat a deep lying defence, which has proven their undoing in the past. Christian Eriksen was linked with an emotional return to the club, yet at the time, Spurs' priorities lay elsewhere and the Dane eventually joined Manchester United after impressing during his short stint with Brentford.
A player familiar with both Spurs and Conte would have been ideal, yet you can't blame the club for wanting to look at other positions when Eriksen was in high demand. Now, though, in the final knockings of the transfer window, Spurs are not necessarily scrambling for a creative midfielder, but would likely take one on if the option was there.
One rumoured to be on the club's radar is Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi. The Ukraine international has been linked with a move to Marseille, but Malinovskyi is believed to favour a move to Spurs and with Atalanta boss Gian Piero Gasperini reportedly allowing the 29-year-old to depart this summer, he could prove a good fit for Conte's side.
Malinovskyi did struggle for regular minutes for Atalanta last season - 19 of his 30 appearances were from the outset - yet he maximised his time on the pitch to good effect as he chipped in with six goals and four assists. A return of 2.6 successful dribbles per 90 ranked fifth in the 2021/22 Serie A campaign, while 2.5 key passes per 90 was the eighth most.
Not only is the creative star able to glid past an opponent, but there's a quality end product to his game. Much of this does come from a central area, which is exactly where Spurs need arguably need to improve upon. It's all well and good having quality options from wide, however if the wing-backs or the wingers are struggling to get the better of their opponents, then Malinovskyi would be a handy player at Conte's disposal to help find an opening.
He's willing to show for the ball inside the attacking third before turning and running at goal and through the middle of the pitch, this would be a very important weapon for Conte to call upon. And not only would Malinovskyi offer that additional attacking alternative in terms of creating for others, but he'd be another goal threat for Spurs to utilise.
In Son, Kane and Kulusevski, Conte already has three quality forward options, an area strengthened with the addition of Richarlison from Everton over the summer, however from distance, Malinovskyi would bring a little something extra to Spurs. Since the start of last season, the north London side have scored eight league goals from outside of the box, with Son (4) their top scorer from distance.
🚀 No player has scored more goals from outside of the box than Ruslan Malinovskyi (6) since the start of the 2021/22 Serie A season pic.twitter.com/Uo3HFFXqvS— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) August 22, 2022
Over the same period, no player has scored more goals from outside of the box than Malinovskyi (6) in Serie A following his first half goal in Atalanta's 1-1 draw with AC Milan on Sunday night. In a Spurs side that has developed a statistically calculated WhoScored strength of 'creating long shot opportunities', this aspect would certainly suit Malinovskyi and his penchant of netting from distance.
What's more, the appointment of Gianni Vio means Spurs would have an additional quality route to goal to aid them in front of goal. Vio is a renowned set-piece specialist, while another of Malinovskyi's strengths is his ability from a dead ball situation. For too long, this has been a sticking point of Spurs, at least until Vio came in, and the improvement has been immediate as noted by Kane's goals from corners against both Chelsea and Wolves.
Yet with Malinovskyi coached by Vio, who himself was praised by Kulusevski over the weekend, there is the potential for Spurs to become even more lethal from corners and free-kicks. Then there is the versatility to his game that means Conte would have a player to operate in the number 10 role and quality cover for Kulusevski on the right. Malinovskyi started Atalanta's 1-1 draw with AC Milan on the right of the three-pronged attack in Bergamo on Sunday, and it's here where he perhaps plays his best football.
Able to maximise his wicked left foot, Spurs' current gameplan wouldn't need to change too much were Malinovskyi to come in for Kulusevski on the right. This crucially gives Conte options in both personnel and system, which will be crucial this season. Spurs are believed to be exploring a loan with an option-to-buy offer for the Ukraine international and given the style and versatility to his game, Malinovskyi could prove a decent fit at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.