Graeme Souness believes that Antonio Conte and Daniel Levy could have a power struggle at Tottenham over the coming months, and urged the Spurs chairman to give in to the head coach’s demands.
After an impressive start to the season, Spurs’ results have suffered over recent weeks, which has seen Conte come under an increasing amount of criticism (BBC Monday Night Club via Football365).
However, reports indicate that the Italian has the full backing of the Tottenham hierarchy, who are expected to open talks regarding a new deal with the 53-year-old during the mid-season break for the World Cup (Telegraph).
The Daily Mail reported last week that neither Conte nor Levy are likely to ‘give an inch’ when the pair are set to sit down for talks over a new contract. The report explained that the talks will centre around vision and ambition, with Conte’s priority being success on the pitch.
Souness believes that Levy should allow the former Inter Milan and Juventus boss the power to build the team he wants so that he can get Spurs challenging for major honours.
The former Liverpool centre-back wrote in his column for The Mail: “I sense a power struggle looming at Tottenham over transfers between Antonio Conte and Daniel Levy and I know whose judgement I would back. Conte is a proven winner and a good manager. His record proves that.
“Levy on the other hand is a man who has run Tottenham for 21 years and won one League Cup. Tottenham are a really big football club and they have punched below their weight on Levy’s watch. They should be challenging for the biggest honours on a regular basis.
“People talk to me about the new stadium and it’s the best anywhere in the world. But it would not be rocket science for a big London club to build a new stadium in the recent and current financial climate of the Premier League.
“It’s the equivalent of taking a 25-year mortgage on a house. Even allowing for that they have underperformed on a large scale. And what about the 18 years before they build the stadium?
“Do you think Tottenham fans want to go on holiday and meet someone in a bar somewhere and say: ‘Cor, have you seen our amazing stadium?’. Of course, they don’t. They want to tell people about what a great team they have.”
Souness insisted that Conte’s demanding nature is a positive as it shows that the Tottenham head coach is not satisfied with mediocrity.
The pundit added: “I think Conte is the best chance they have of making that possible but Levy has got to trust him and try to give him what he wants.
“The best managers are never ever satisfied. They have to be like that. If you aren’t improving you are going backwards. Every big team is buying players and if you aren’t then you are losing ground.
“Conte is demanding and that’s to his credit. The priority of a manager is to get the best out of a group of players and by and large he has done that. He will be pushing Levy for more and Levy will have known what he was getting when he hired him.
“What mystifies me is that people employ a manager on an enormous wage and then immediately start to listen to other people when a signing doesn’t work or you have two or three bad results. Where is the logic?”
Spurs Web Opinion
This is typical of the kind of opinion one has come to expect from Souness – completely fact-free and unresearched.
Conte has said time and again of his relationship with Daniel Levy and Fabio Paratici is positive, and one can deny that the Italian has been backed by the club so far.
If Levy lacked the ambition to win trophies, there would be no need for the Spurs chairman to appoint demanding managers like Mourinho and Conte.
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