Following an embarrassing three-nil home defeat to Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur decided to show Nuno Espirito Santo the exit door. Circulation whistled around social media as to who the next manager would be, and eyes turned to bookmaker comparison sites, such as www.gamblerspro.com, to see what names were favourites in the betting.
Within 48 hours, it was confirmed, former Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte would be the next manager of the Lilywhites.
Conte’s Impressive Resume
Anyone who follows football, and even many who don’t, are familiar with the name Antonio Conte. As a player, he won virtually everything the game has to offer during a 13-year at Juventus, including five Serie A titles, four Supercoppa Italiana, the UEFA Cup and the Champions League.
After hanging up his boots in 2004, his first true managerial role was at Serie B club Bari, which he led to promotion in 2009. After spells at Atalanta and Siena, Conte was back at Juventus in 2011, where he won three Scudettos in consecutive seasons and two Supercoppa Italiana in 2012 and 2013. After leaving Juve in 2014, he went on to manage the national team before returning to club management in 2016 with Chelsea. He won the English Premier League in his first season and the FA Cup in his second (season) before parting ways with the London club.
It was back to Italy next, and much to the dismay of the Juventus fans, Conte became the head coach of their Serie A rivals Inter Milan. He won the Serie A title with Inter in his second season 2020-21, which ended Juve’s 9-year reign. A falling out with the board at the end of the season, allegedly due to lack of funds for new players, saw Conte walk out on the Milan side.
Tottenham were looking for a manager at that time since they had sacked Jose Mourinho in April and caretaker boss Ryan Mason had been in charge for the remainder of the season; however, a deal to bring Conte to north London never happened. However, the vacancy opened up again this week, and here we are.
At 52, Conte is potentially in his prime managerial years. His CV tells us that this man is a winner, but in Tottenham, he joins a side that hasn’t won a major trophy in more than 5,000 days (2008 League Cup).
Levy is the Key
Although not at the same levels as Pep Guardiola at Man City, Conte will demand a decent transfer budget so he can bring in his own players, and for many seasoned Spurs fans, that is where the problem lies. Tottenham’s chairman, Daniel Levy, has a reputation for not backing his managers in the transfer market, with Pochettino and Mourinho both possibly being hampered by the tightish nature of Levy.
It’s unfair to say that the Spurs chief doesn’t buy anyone, although that was true during an 18-month period under Pochettino, but the argument is that the players who are brought in are not the manager’s first choice. Based on what we have seen from Conte – walking out on Inter Milan days after winning the title – Levy’s digging around for ‘cheaper alternative players’ will not wash with this fiery Italian.
We don’t have a crystal ball, but if Conte is given the funds, his track record suggests that he could deliver silverware to Tottenham’s trophy cabinet. The January transfer window will tell us a lot as to where this new era in Spurs’ history is heading.
Antonio has made it clear that he will assess the current squad for the next two months before making any decisions. Yet, after seeing his new team nearly squander a three-goal lead against Vitesse Arnhem in his first match, you’d imagine several heads will be already close to the chopping block.
So, will Conte ‘Conte’ Tottenham or will Tottenham ‘Tottenham’ Conte? That’s what remains to be seen.