Antonio Conte to Tottenham. You could have told me that a few years back and I would have called you crazy. Back in 2017, Conte was thriving with Chelsea, winning the Premier League in his first season and Spurs were flying with Pochettino at the helm.
Fast forward to 2021 and Spurs are without a manager, Pochettino is stuck at PSG and Conte chose to leave Inter Milan despite winning Serie A last year due to financial constraints. Times are strange.
Perhaps the best place for us to start with Conte is his CV. He has managed Juventus, Italy, Chelsea and Inter Milan. He won Serie A three times with Juve and another time with Inter. He won the Premier League with Chelsea and an FA Cup. This is just a small snapshot.
Spurs, on the other hand, have won nothing in 14 years. Looking like a good appointment so far…
Let’s be honest, Conte is only even on the cards because of a rather unique situation. Had he been given money, I’m sure he would have stayed at Inter. Had he been offered the Real Madrid job, I’m sure he would have gone there. If there was another big-name job, I’m sure he would consider it.
In reality, Spurs are one of the only sizeable European names currently searching for a new boss and, if Conte wants to get straight back into management, it could be the only smart choice.
Essentially what I am saying is that Tottenham would be getting a very good deal, securing a world-class manager who otherwise, in another world, may not look at Spurs twice.
I know many people wanted Pochettino, myself included, as I thought that this rebuild may be as much about throwing an arm around a few people as getting rid of others.
Conte, a little like Mourinho, is known for being cut-throat, sometimes falling out with people over his way of coaching. In my opinion, not necessarily the best act to follow the Special One show in North London.
If Conte comes in, isn’t backed in the transfer window, and is left with a similar squad to the one that Mourinho failed to win with, we are going to see EXACTLY the same 18-month pattern again.
An up-tick in form for a little while, then everything comes crashing down once the manager realises the players are not good enough.
However, if Conte is backed in the transfer window and is allowed to be cut-throat in getting rid of the Tottenham deadwood, of which there is a lot, this could be a match made in heaven.
Spurs needed a rebuild two seasons ago. Spurs needed a rebuild last season. Spurs still need a rebuild. Pochettino and Mourinho were not given the tools to complete it and I can only assume that Conte will only join with guarantees.
So let’s say that the Italian signs on the dotted line, Paratici comes with him as Director of Football and they overhaul the squad this summer. What next?
Conte has proven over his career that he is able to get the very best out of a defence without compromising style and attacking football. In a way, he’s like Mourinho if Jose had ever bothered to adapt and modernise his methods.
Last season, Inter Milan were known for playing out from the back while remaining solid, as well as scoring a decent number of goals with a focal point in Romelu Lukaku. Harry Kane should fit that role rather well as long as he sticks around.
So we have a good style of football, a serial winner, and someone made for a cut-throat rebuild. What else? Well, all of the above give the star players plenty of reasons to stick around, Harry Kane included.
Does Kane want to stay? Probably not. Will he kick up a fuss? I doubt it. Will he at least feel better seeing a world-class manager come in? I’m sure.
As Pochettino once warned us, this rebuild will likely be painful but it has been a long time coming and Conte seems to be as good a figure as any to get it done.
In my opinion, we will see the Italian sign on a three-year deal, he will complete two seasons and Pochettino will return to Spurs in 2023 at the end of his PSG contract. Hopefully, we will have won something by then.
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