Tottenham are close to landing a new manager who could potentially transform the face and fortunes of the club with multiple reports confirming that Spurs are in advanced talks with in-demand Italian coach Antonio Conte.
Joining Tottenham would represent a return to the English Premier League for Conte, who coached Chelsea over two seasons, winning the Premier League and an FA Cup.
He recently left Inter Milan after leading them to their first Italian league title in 11 seasons. Conte reportedly departed Inter ahead of impending salary cuts and player transfers in light of the pandemic-induced financial difficulties weighing on the current ownership group.
Why Conte would be a big deal for Tottenham
Spurs are hoping to return to title contender status in the English Premier League and to make regular appearances in the top four spots, which guarantees a place in the lucrative UEFA Champions League. They were a top-four team over the course of four consecutive seasons under former manager Mauricio Pochettino, advancing to the 2019 UEFA Champions League final.
But they have regressed over the past two campaigns under world-renowned manager Jose Mourinho, dropping outside the top four. The recent struggles have led their captain and star forward Harry Kane to seek a move away from the only club he’s ever represented.
Since Mourinho was fired on April 19, Tottenham have been linked with several candidates, including Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, Brighton’s Graham Potter, Belgium national team manager Roberto Martinez and a potential return of Pochettino. But Conte’s high profile and impressive resume would be considered a step up on the names that have floated in the media thus far.
The 51-year-old Conte has led Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan to league titles with his winning formula based on building strong team chemistry and unity. His teams are not known for playing attractive soccer, but they’re extremely effective. And Conte is tactically flexible, molding winning formations with the players he has had at his disposal.
What kind of team would Conte inherit at Tottenham?
Spurs continue to field a competitive squad with world-class players, but it’s a team that has lacked a cutting edge in recent seasons. The fiery and passionate Conte would be expected to provide it.
He might also have the help of a familiar ally in Tottenham’s front office. Former Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici, who worked with Conte years ago at Juventus, is reportedly in the running to take up the position with Spurs. Paratici recently left Juventus after 11 seasons with the Turin-based club.
The duo would inherit a roster that is headlined by England national team star Harry Kane, Korean international attacker Heung-Min Son, Colombian central defender Davinson Sanchez and French national teamers Moussa Sissoko, Tanguy Ndombele and Hugo Lloris. Even with those names, Tottenham struggled to hold leads and close out matches, two trademark characteristics of Conte teams.
In fact, despite a strong start to the season — they won seven of their first 11 league matches — the team faltered in the second half of the 2020-2021 season. Tottenham finished in seventh place in the Premier League, 24 points behind champions Manchester City. They were also knocked out at the Round of 16 stage of both the Europa League and the FA Cup, leading to Mourinho’s firing.
Can Conte turn Tottenham into a contender again?
If there’s anyone who can help build Spurs into a title contender and provide the team an injection of personality, it’s Conte.
He could benefit from a significant cash infusion to rework the roster in the case that Kane is transferred out, although Conte could also potentially convince him to buy into his vision and stay at the club given that Kane still has three years left on his Spurs contract. The Kane situation will be the first issue to be resolved if Conte is eventually hired.
With a brand new stadium that opened in 2019 and a large fan base hungry for trophies, Tottenham are a sleeping giant that has been on the verge of breaking out in past seasons. With Conte and his winning track record, Spurs supporters would be confident that the first trophy since 2008 (League Cup) would not be too far away.