After one season on the books at Tottenham Hotspur, Richarlison was written off as a flop.
In 35 games across all competitions, he scored only three goals for Spurs. Just one of those came in the Premier League – an ultimately futile equaliser in a late and comical 4-3 defeat at Liverpool during their run of never-ending nadirs.
Right, that is an admittedly poor stretch for a forward. The optics are even worse considering he was handed the number nine shirt and signed for a fee that could rise to a club-record £60m. He was, crucially, largely used out on the touchline with little support.
That spell seems like generations ago. In a way, it is. Ange Postecoglou has breathed fresh life into Tottenham on and off the pitch. The club took a long at itself in the ruins of the Antonio Conte era, and the Greek-Australian’s appointment as head coach was the catalyst for change.
Under Postecoglou, nearly every first-team member has had at least one moment in the sun this season, one period where they looked like a top-three player in the Premier League in their own position. Entering February, it’s still not entirely clear who would win the club’s Player of the Year award if voting ended today given the number of legitimate candidates.
Richarlison has been a late bloomer in the context of the 2023/24 campaign. He was relegated from his new role as starting striker post-Harry Kane early in the season, with Son Heung-min moved centrally instead.
In September, Richarlison admitted he was seeking help regarding his mental health and was publicly defended by Postecoglou for expressing this vulnerability. Days later, he was involved in both goals as Spurs staged the latest comeback in Premier League history, beating Sheffield United 2-1.
With the equaliser that day, Richarlison had matched his entire Premier League goal record from the season before. This should have been the point where context to his disappointing debut campaign was made more available.
Another barren run followed that goal and he underwent surgery on a long-standing pelvic issue in November. An operation on his groin has rejuvenated Richarlison back into the spritely striker he more often looked in his Everton days.
Richarlison is currently on a streak of nine goals in his last eight Premier League games, vaulting himself to double figures for the season with plenty of time to spare.
This isn’t just a player who’s…