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Conte key to Tottenham prospects, but board must deliver transfer targets

| 26.06.2022

Conte key to Tottenham prospects

Tottenham defied expectations last season by grabbing the final Champions League spot from under the noses of arch rivals Arsenal and the way they are conducting their summer transfer business it’s clear they are looking to compete on both the domestic and European stages.

Antonio Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo at the start of November and with three games remaining Spurs were four points behind the Gunners, who lost to Tottenham and then Newcastle to hand Champions League qualification to their rivals, something the Italian described as being “like a trophy”.

Conte has made no secret of his desire to improve the squad and the club have already brought in three new signings with more likely to follow, so what are the Tottenham prospects for next season?

Will board back Conte in transfer market?

In short, yes. The club’s owners have given the former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach £150million to strengthen a squad that was actually weakened in terms of numbers during the winter transfer window.

Five players were allowed to leave on loan in January, including record signing Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli, Giovani Lo Celso and Bryan Gil, but only brought in two players, so securing a top-four spot was a remarkable achievement.

Giovani Lo Celso, Tottenham prospects

Their success was partly down to managing director of football Fabio Paratici, whose double signing of Juventus pair Dejan Lulusevski and Rodrigo Bentacur is looking like a masterstroke, especially the Sweden winger who made an instant impact with five goals and eight assists in just 16 appearances.

Paratici will play a key role in recruitment once more and has already made a few additions to the squad.

Who have Tottenham signed?

Yves Bissouma has been their biggest signing of the summer, joining from Brighton for £25million on a four-year deal. The tough-tackling Mali international bolsters Tottenham’s midfield which had been looking light with only Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Bentancur entrusted to play in the centre of the pitch.

Tottenham’s first piece of business was the versatile Ivan Perisic, a player well known to Conte during his time as Inter Milan coach. The 33-year-old Croatian, who scored against England in the 2018 World Cup semi-final and France in the final, can play on the wing, as an attacking midfielder, second striker or left wing-back, where he is expected to feature.

With Pierluigi Gollini heading back to Atalanta at the end of his loan spell, Conte needed a back-up goalkeeper for Hugo Lloris and brought in the experienced Fraser Forster on a free transfer from Southampton.

Who is leaving Tottenham?

Alli completed a move to Everton on a permanent basis on transfer deadline day in January and could soon be joined at Goodison Park by Harry Winks, who is deemed surplus to requirements by Conte.

Matt Doherty, Tottenham prospects

The futures of Lo Celso, Ndombele and Gil remain up in the air, while question marks surround Emerson Royal, Sergio Reguilon and Matt Doherty.

Winger Steven Bergwijn has emerged as a target for Dutch champions Ajax, so it could be a busy summer at Tottenham.

Which positions does Conte still need to fill?

With a central midfielder, goalkeeper and left wing-back in the bag, Conte still wants to add a centre-back and right wing-back to his squad.

Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence, who enjoyed a superb season on loan at Championship play-off winners Nottingham Forest, could be the man to land the latter role, although the clubs are not seeing eye to eye on a transfer fee.

Conte also had hopes of bringing Alessandro Bastoni to north London, but the player’s agent has revealed the Italy centre-back is set to stay at Inter Milan.

Tottenham prospects for next season

Spurs are 14/1 third favourites in the Premier League title odds although more realistically they can be backed at 5/6 to finish in the top four.

There are expected to be plenty of comings and goings in the next couple of months as Conte looks to reshape the squad in his own image, but if the club get the right players there is no reason why Tottenham cannot be challenging for the top four once more.

Manchester City have strengthened with the capture of global superstar Erling Haaland, but Liverpool look weaker with the loss of Sadio Mane, despite their potentially club-record signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica.

Arsenal seem hell bent on adding young players to an already youthful squad, so they may come up just short once more, while Manchester United have yet to add a single player to their squad under new coach Erik ten Hag, despite seeing Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata leave the club.

Spurs face Chelsea, champions Manchester City, top-four hopefuls West Ham and Arsenal in their opening nine matches and there is the small matter of a couple of Champions League group games dotted in between, so it’s imperative chairman Daniel Levy and Paratici get the right players in soon to compete on two fronts.

Get it right and it could be another wonderful season for Spurs, one which may convince Conte to stay beyond the end of his current deal which expires at the end of the season.

Get it wrong and it could be the Europa League or worse and the departure of Conte to a club that matches his own ambitions.

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Warren Barner