Tottenham are closing in on the appointment of Antonio Conte, talks have progressed rapidly, and there is confidence in the club that their long search for a manager is almost over.
Spurs president Daniel Levy fired Jose Mourinho on April 19 (the team ended the season with interim inexperienced Ryan Mason) and has come under intense pressure from fans to offer an exciting replacement.
The team imploded during the second half of last season and Levy raised the temperature even further in his rush to join the ultimately doomed European Super League. The club’s talisman, Harry Kane, has made it clear that he wants a transfer as his frustration at not being able to win trophies has boiled over.
Levy knows that failing to attract a big-name manager could seriously hurt him, and while Conte doesn’t seem to fit the profile the president has publicly said he wants, he would certainly be a glamorous hire; a proven winner, not only in his native Italy, where he just won his last Serie A title with Internazionale, but also in England. During Conte’s two seasons at Chelsea, he won a Premier League and an FA Cup.
Conte left Inter last Wednesday because he was unhappy with his plan to sell some € 80 million worth of players to fill holes in his balance sheet. He wanted to back the signings and have a better chance of taking advantage of his title. The 51-year-old is hoping Levy will offer him something similar, although it is unclear where the money would come from, as the Spurs suffered massive losses during the pandemic.
Levy said at the end of the season that he wanted his new coach to “accept our desire to see the young players in our academy flourish alongside seasoned talents.” It is known that before he wanted a figure in the mold of Mauricio Pochettino, the coach before Mourinho who did wonders on a relatively small budget and developed a handful of young players.
What Levy has made clear internally is that he will not tolerate the sale of Kane, who has three years to fulfill his contract and is in the interest of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.
Conte is on record having expressed his admiration for Kane, describing him in 2017 as the “forward of his dreams” and “one of the best in the world.” He added: “If I had to buy a forward, I would go to Kane. He is a complete forward ”.
The Spurs also want to recruit former Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici, as Levy seeks to return to a two-tier management structure, raising questions about what to do with Steve Hitchen, effectively the head of recruiting.
Levy has previously hired Paul Mitchell, Franco Baldini, Damien Comolli, Frank Arnesen and David Pleat in the role of sports director or something similar. Conte worked with Paratici, who had been with Juventus for 11 years until his recent departure, between 2011 and 2014, when he won three Serie A titles.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism