Teddy Sheringham has claimed that Tottenham Hotspur could now build a considerable gap between them and Arsenal after pipping their North London rivals to a fourth-place finish.
Even the most optimistic of Spurs fans would not have thought that the club would be able to qualify for the Champions League when Nuno Espirito Santo was sacked just four months after his appointment.
However, Antonio Conte managed to steer the ship around, and while the Italian’s first seven months in charge did have some bumps, he succeeded in getting the Lilywhites back into the promise land of the Champions League at Arsenal’s expense.
When asked if he was delighted with Conte’s impact, Sheringham told Lord Ping: “I’m delighted and so is everybody else in the camp. I don’t think Tottenham could have made a better appointment. Conte has come in and grabbed the club by the scruff of the neck.
“He had a clear plan and all of his players followed him. He’s galvanised the club from top to bottom and all of the players understand what it takes to become top players and a top team.
“They’ve totally bought into him and are on the journey with him – it is a totally different vibe at the club now. There is a totally different vibe between Tottenham and Arsenal; Spurs are fighting like a lion under him, whilst Arsenal faded at the business end of the season. Conte is taking his players with him and they are loving the ride.”
Getting into the Champions League is already seeming to prove decisive, with reports indicating that the likes of Richarlison (UOL) and Lautaro Martinez (GiveMeSport) prefer a move to Spurs over Arsenal.
When asked if Spurs can now leave the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal behind this summer, Sheringham responded: “With Arsenal I believe they could, but I don’t think you’re going to leave United behind you. If Tottenham can keep moving in the right manner. Getting fourth was a big moment for Spurs.
“Finishing above Arsenal was massive and Conte came out on top against Arteta. Now he has the upper hand when it comes to attracting players because the best players will choose Tottenham over Arsenal now.
“Arteta will have to convince targets to come with an ambition of getting into the Champions League, Conte doesn’t have that problem – Tottenham are there next season and players are impatient.
“Players don’t want to hopefully play in the Champions League, they want to play in the Champions League now for a manager that’s got the ball rolling in the right direction. So yeah, it’s a big time for Tottenham. If they use this advantage wisely, and the clubs run the right way it could be massive for both football clubs and shape the next five or six years, maybe even longer.”
Reports over recent weeks have indicated that Harry Kane is loving life under Conte and is now willing to open talks with Tottenham over a new contract (Evening Standard).
When asked if Tottenham can now match Kane’s ambition, now that Conte is in charge, Sheringham said: “Harry Kane will be looking at that and he will be thinking where the club goes next. He and Conte have taken the club to a position where they can either kick on and challenge for the biggest prizes or challenge for the top four again.
“He’ll be thinking, ‘are we going to have a Champions League run that’ll get us to the quarterfinals and get knocked out? Or are we buying players now to say, we’re going to the next level?’
“I’m sure Conte will have assured Kane about his plans. I’m sure that he and Kane will want to challenge immediately. I’d like to see at least two more players go in there.
“Statement signings that show the world Tottenham are changing the stature of the club. Tottenham have good players in the club, but they need to get better ones now. Tottenham are going places.”
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We could well look back on us pipping Arsenal to fourth last season as a significant moment for both clubs in the years to come.
It has ensured that Conte and Kane both stay at the club, which could mean that Spurs move closer to a title challenge over the next couple of years.
On the other hand, with the likes of Man Utd and Newcastle set to spend big, it will only get a tougher for Arsenal to challenge for a top-four place.
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