Antonio Conte has claimed it would have been convenient for him to keep Harry Winks at Tottenham as a fifth midfield option but admitted that the midfielder wanted to play regularly.
Winks became the fifth first-team player to leave Tottenham this summer following the departures of Steven Bergwijn, Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele and Sergio Reguilon.
Sampdoria confirmed on Tuesday that they had reached an agreement with Spurs to sign the midfielder on a season-long loan, with an option to make the deal permanent.
Conte has now remarked that the England international is a major coup for Sampdoria and suggested that the player will enjoy playing in Serie A.
The Spurs boss told Football.London regarding Winks’ departure: “First of all we are talking about a really good player. Last season he played with us and he played well. It was for the player and the player felt this to try and go and play regularly, play every game.
“I think it is a good opportunity for Sampdoria, especially. They are getting a really good player. And also for Harry, to go outside of England and into Italy to play in an important league. It will be good.
“But he’s going on loan, then next season we will see. For sure, we are talking about a really good player that is going there to play regularly and it is a great signing for Sampdoria if this deal is done.”
Conte admitted that it was Winks who pushed to leave Tottenham as he wanted to get regular minutes under his belt.
The Italian added: “If I wanted to be selfish I would say maybe it’s more convenient for Winks to stay here. To have five strong midfielders, with Rodrigo Bentancur, Pierre Hojbjerg, Bissouma, Skippy and Winksy, for me that is OK.
“You know very well to make the players happy, there are players who want to play regularly. They want to try to have a different challenge.
“Sometimes it doesn’t depend only on the club or the coach. Sometimes it can depend that a player wants a new challenge or wants to play regularly, to have more satisfaction.”
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Lo Celso, Ndombele and Reguilon were evidently deemed not suitable for Conte’s system but it is clear that was not the case with Winks.
It is worth remembering that the 26-year-old performed well when he got opportunities against the likes of Liverpool and Leeds under Conte last season.
Like Steven Bergwijn, I suspect the Spurs boss would have been happy for the England international to stay but the midfielder understandably wanted to play regularly.
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