Opinion: Why Spurs can and must spend in January under Antonio Conte

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Joe Lewis Daniel Levy
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The replacement of Nuno Espirito Santo with Antonio Conte was met with amazement and approval by most Spurs supporters.

Appointing a manager of Conte’s calibre, in his prime, was a statement of intent by Fabio Paratici and Daniel Levy. Coming in off the back of securing a first Seria A title for Inter Milan in 11 years, the Italian’s stocks were certainly high.

What will have perhaps excited Spurs fans the most is Conte’s infamous demanding nature when it comes to squad investment. Make no mistake, he will not be afraid to butt heads with the hierarchy at Tottenham.

However, the excitement surrounding Conte’s inevitable squad investment may have taken a dent today. The Athletic report that Spurs have posted a pre-tax loss of £80.2 million in the financial year ending June 2021.

Levy pointed to the devastating impact of the pandemic when explaining the losses. He said: “With no less than three lockdowns, our operations were severely disrupted”.

Albeit the news may worry fans. But the Spurs chairman was positive in his statement. He claimed “Building blocks for the future” had been laid in North London.

“The appointments of Fabio and Antonio are a clear demonstration of our intent and ambition”.

He continued: “We remain relentlessly ambitious and are determined to deliver honours and make our supporters proud”.

While this may sound like a broken record to many Spurs fans, there are reasons why this time it may actually be different.

Recent analysis was undertaken for Sportsmail by Kieran Maguire, a lecturer in Football Finance at the University of Liverpool, revealing how much each Premier League club could spend on transfers before violating Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

A number of interesting elements were uncovered. The more astute followers of the Lilywhites would have noticed Spurs topping the FFP table. But what does this mean?

Astonishingly, the figures suggest that Paratici and co could spend up to £400 million in the upcoming transfer window and still not violate FFP rules.

We are all aware that Levy would not sanction such frivolous spending, even if Spurs had this money available solely for player investment. But, the FFP statistics nullify one of Levy’s excuses not to provide Conte with the money he requires to improve this stagnant Spurs team.

Conte himself is no fool. The 52-year-old will have ensured the assurances he received prior to accepting the role as Spurs manager met his lofty expectations.

To join a struggling side mid-season suggests that he was promised the means to improve the squad as he sees fit in transfer windows to come.

Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times believes that Conte already has one eye on the January transfer window. In an iHeart radio podcast, Castles claimed that the Spurs boss wants two new centre backs to fix his side’s lacklustre defence.

Calciomercato.it suggest that Conte is eyeing a reunion with Inter Milan centre-back Stefan De Vrij. The Dutchman is seen as the perfect fit to sure up the Spurs backline. His positional awareness and ability to act as first play-maker from the back are traits that would make him a perfect partner to Cristian Romero.

With Inter still looking to recoup debts, the Italian champions are reportedly willing to sell the 29-year-old in January (CalcioMercato). But Spurs must first fight off competition from a Newcastle United side who are looking to splash some of their newly sourced cash.

Another player who has been heavily linked with a move to N17 is Dusan Vlahovic. The 21-year-old striker currently plies his trade at Italian club Fiorentina.

Vlahovic has ten goals and two assists in 13 games so far this Seria A campaign. According to The Sun, he is available this Winter if a club pays the reported fee of £70 million.

Aerial presence, link-up play, and deadly finishing are the strengths of the young Serbian’s game. Vlahovic could easily play up-front with either Harry Kane or Heung-Min Son, providing Conte with a wealth of attacking options.

With Paratici and Conte no doubt beginning to finalise their shopping list for January, a number of other players have been touted as potential targets.

90min claim AC Milan duo Franck Kessie and Alessio Romagnoli are on Spurs’ radar. Juventus midfielder Dejan Kulusewski has also been linked with a switch to North London. The Italian connection at Spurs seems to be producing a neverending list of rumours.

These rumours are likely to please Spurs fans, who will see the upcoming transfer windows as Levy’s last chance to prove he values the success on-field, as much as he does off-field.

It would be criminal to have a manager as accomplished and inspiring as Antonio Conte and not provide him with the tools he needs to create a dynasty at the club.

With undoubted room for improvement, FFP wiggle-room, the pull of world-class facilities and a manager who every player wants to play for, January has to be a statement month from Spurs.

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