While Antonio Conte is a big target across the Premier League, it appears that Tottenham are now poised to sign the Italian. We’ve heard that before.
It appeared to have been a done deal this past summer but the entire deal fell through when Conte reportedly got cold feet about joining the north London side. Now though, it appears that Tottenham have no other choice but to give the Italian boss whatever he likes. Spurs have had a terrible start to the year and Nuno Espirito Santo is long gone. The deal is reportedly done.
I do not necessarily believe Nuno was given the best chance to succeed, nor that he was given enough time to do so either, but that is neither here nor there at this point.
And so, even as it appeared rather recently that two other teams were close to hiring Conte (Newcastle United, with the Saudi PiF now owning the club, and Manchester United, with a woefully inconsistent superteam led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer), both are now out of luck.
Conte: A man who wants control, and will leave if he doesn’t have it
It is not easy to tell who made out worse in this whole deal. Nuno is an easy target, but beyond that, I’d say Manchester United may have missed an opportunity since it doesn’t appear that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be able to turn this Red Devils side around, even after a convincing victory over the weekend against Tottenham. Spurs are no reliable barometer right now to judge another team’s success, as they have been a right mess.
Newcastle United, meanwhile, will have their pick of just about anyone willing to work for a team owned by a regime that consistently violates human rights. As for who that might be now that Conte is unavailable, remains to be seen. Names like Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger, Ronald Koeman, Zinedine Zidane, Andrea Pirlo, and others will continue to surface until the vacancy is resolved, but only time will tell.
Yet as for Tottenham, what can be said about this new hire? Since the sacking of Mauricio Pochettino, fate has been unkind to Spurs, as though in rebuttal to the choice to fire the Argentine in the first instance. In any event, however, it is worth wondering how Conte will do in this new role in north London?
Antonio Conte does not mess around. He wanted to control and develop Inter Milan, and when he continued to receive pushback from ownership and management, he left. He has won so many trophies and glories as coach and a player, that he is concerned at this point with his art and how that creation comes about more desperately than ever before.
Now that it appears he will have that control in London, Conte will go about reorganizing and readdressing his team across each position and every level of the outfit. He is not one to cut corners, and has been known to display obsessive attention to his team’s work rate and positioning on the pitch.
For a team that has looked without much organization or idea this season – apart from the first three matches – this will be a really positive step forward for the club. When they meet Arsenal again, I can imagine it will be a tougher affair than the first one that the Gunners easily took from Spurs. But Tottenham are looking for more than wins against Arsenal; they need a trophy, having not gotten one in decades. Pochettino came close, and when there was a lull in his team’s form, he was sacked faster than most anyone believed.
Conte must be trusted more than any of the last coaches Daniel Levy and Tottenham have entrusted their club with, as over the last three permanent bosses, of whom all have varyingly positive CV’s, there was no real time for any development or innovation to occur for those managers. It is easy to blame bosses for not getting the results that the supporters want, but if the managers cannot form their clubs like they need to, then they aren’t really being given much of a chance in the final analysis.
Conte can organize, develop, innovate and win both matches and trophies. If Tottenham keep their hands off of him and the squad, they will likely break their streak of trophyless football in the near future. But should they fall prey to the desire to tinker and get someone new in after just months, then it will be same old Spurs for supporters and opposition alike.