Antonio Conte… The Italian Force that hit the Premier League in November following Tottenham Hotspur sacked Portuguese Nuno Espirito Santo has not only been the equidistance of resurgence at Hotspur Way towards the conclusion of the recently ended campaign but also is a paramount figure for the tomorrow at N17.
Santo’s sacking occurred in wake of the 3-0 loss to Manchester United who led the race to sack their coach Ole Gunnar Solskjær. With the Rumors of Antonio Conte wanting to manage a Premier League side gaining momentum, the defeat to the Red Devils came as a blessing for the Spurs and the Reds from Manchester decided to back Ole for a bit too long while Tottenham clicked in to bring Antonio at the helm.
The defeat to Man United set a butterfly effect for the Spurs as they announced the signing of Antonio Conte, the most important signing in their recent history as they now are into playing in the Champions League campaign for the 2022-23 season. If a Tottenham fan was told that the team will qualify in the UCL and give both Manchester City and Liverpool a tough stumble on their title run, they wouldn’t have believed it but the presence of Conte in this team changed the perspective and expectations of every Spurs faithful.
There were a few moments of unrest when sources started linking Antonio Conte with the French giants Paris Saint Germain and their interest in the Italian manager supposedly increasing, especially in mid-March, the rumours were brought to rest as Conte confirmed he was to stay for Spurs and look forward to filling the cabinet of trophies and won’t be leaving without one.
The impact of Antonio Conte
The most visible change Conte made with him was his planned tactics and strategy. Under Nuno, the Spurs team always looked scattered and unconfident with players looking confused on the pitch, while under Conte, every player seems to know the job they are required to do. The Spurs team seems to be in a very clear form and direction as they play and the aggression has risen considerably. The Spurs have managed to gain 56 points in 28 matches under Conte which is the third-highest in the Premier League after joining Manchester City and Liverpool.
Conte also brought his trade-mark 3-4-2-1 (a variation of 3-5-2) formation that worked perfectly with the group. The team seems defensively stable and confident, while also looking as vicious whenever they have a chance of releasing the attack. With this formation, the most crucial players on the pitch for the Spurs are the wing-backs, required to come back on defence while also making forward runs and feeding the strikers, the position asks for a lot of stamina and focus from the player.
The play of style was very effectively put in place with players such as Ryan Sessegnon, Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty becoming a lurking threat against each team they played against resulting in the opposition’s defence structure to always fall apart. Even if in some cases the opposition is allowed to cover the threat of the wing-backs, this form of play, then opens chances for chances in the middle that requires a versatile front three, thankfully for the Spurs they have one of the best front three in the premier league consisting – Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski.
Despite the miraculous and happy end to the season, things did look a bit shaky in mid-February when Tottenham lost 1-0 to Burnley and Conte reportedly told the team that his departure might be better for both the parties. As things were looking bad for Spurs again, Tottenham Hotspur showed class and maturity as fighting back and gaining the momentum they needed to enter the top 4 of the Premier League table.
Conte’s Transfer market tactics
The most crucial part of his success with Tottenham has to be his mid-winter signings of Rodrigo Betancur and the fan favourite Dejan Kulusevski.
Conte also stated that if the club wants to succeed, they have to ‘fix the precious’ mistakes, which he did as Dele Alli was sold to Everton in a permanent deal while others such as Tanguy Ndombele, Bryan Gil, Giovani Lo Celso and Jack Clarke all left the club on loan.
When Dejan Kulusevski joined Tottenham, Conte was all praise for the one young series, claiming that he has been following the young man’s development for some time. Kulusevski not only proved Conte was right about him being a star, but he also won fans’ hearts with his performances. In just 18 appearances for the club, Kulusevski accumulated a 13 G/A (5 goals and 8 assists) playing a very crucial role in every chance provided to him by the Italian Manager.
His constant top-level performances meant less playing time for Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn, while he developed a dangerous trio with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. While other players often get lost in the transition to the Premier League, the 22-year-old winger was quick to adjust and get his name on the scorecard.
The relationship between Kulusevski and Spurs blossomed further as he expressed his desire to stay in England and play further for the club.
“I really love staying here. It’s been going good, I’ve been feeling really good in the pitch and I enjoy my football a lot but I will rest now for some days and then I want to come back much, much better next year, because I think this team can go much better and we have a fantastic coach. I’m looking forward to the future with this club,”
It will be really exciting to see how the youngster from Uruguay is gonna perform for Spurs the next season as the fans are hoping for his transfer to get confirmed as soon as possible and look forward to his future with the club.
With Oliver Skipp out with an injury and Harry Winks’s unstable performance, Rodrigo Bentancur’s signing restored the much-needed balance within the Tottenham team. By partnering with Hojbjerg, the duo ensured stability and kept pace in the midfield for the Spurs. The young Uruguayan is more confident in his defensive abilities than offensive and considers his defensive qualities as his best attributes.
Bentancur also doesn’t shy away from stepping up in the big games as only in his 4th appearance for the club, he registered a record of 13.1 km in the dramatic 3-2 victory against Manchester City.
Aside from defensive stability, Bentancur also brings a number of creative work into the midfield whenever he has the ball in possession. Fans also speculate that as the player grows, they look at a future Captain inside him.
These two players also had a very positive impact on their teammates with Son Heung-min praising both for their hard work and aggressiveness.
“They obviously came here from having been playing in one of the best teams in the world, so they have a great experience, and they bring so much positive energy. They have a great work rate and a great attitude, which is always needed. Both of them are doing really well, so I hope that continues.”
With him showing his understanding of what the team needs and moves in the transfer market, the club’s higher-ups have finally shown confidence and trust in a manager who they believe can do justice to the funds provided by them. With the recent injection of €150M to the team’s finances, the message to Antonio Conte is clear – “ we want you to stay and we have full confidence in your decisions.”
This level of financial backing not only means a healthy summer market for Spurs but also displays the level of trust Conte brings along him to convince the higher-ups to invest in his dreams for the club.
Conte has always been straightforward regarding his needs and wants from the club, he has always been public about the fact that he’ll stay only if he gets the financial backing he deserves, which he seems to be now getting awarded with.
With a promising figure to spend on the market, Conte will be looking forward to making the most of it by signing the players he has in mind to fit in his system and shine for the Spurs.
Potential signings for Spurs
As promised by Conte, he has been fishing in the transfer market pond for the big fish and thus promising names have been linked with Tottenham in this summer transfer window such as… Ivan Perisic, Nordi Mukiele, Alessandro Bastoni and Fraser Forster.
All the players seem to be a perfect fit for the play-style of Antonio Conte as…
Ivan Perisic – Inter Milan: a player with experience and a winning mentality will improve the depth of the team and provide an additional offensive option in the midfielder as well as on the wing.
Nordi Mukiele – RB Leipzig: A young promise who shows immense potential as a right-back for his team and provides stability in the defensive back. Signing and developing him will be a beneficial move for the future of the club.
Alessandro Bastoni – Inter Milan: The Signing of the Italian Center back will further strengthen the defensive line of Spurs which seems to be the backbone of Conte’s tactics. Signing a defensive promise like him will give the club the stability it requires.
Fraser Forster – Southampton: This signing will probably give Hugo Lloris and the club a backup option it DESPERATELY needs as the French goalkeeper has been a regular starter for the coys’ and would like to be rested in a few games.
Antonio Conte renewing with Spurs now seems inevitable as various sources and reporters have already reported that a deal and contract has been agreed between the Tottenham Hotspur and The Italian manager. Fans have been nothing but happy ever since these speculations have started as they highly await to watch the ‘Conte dream’ unfold for Spurs in the 2022-23 season as they look forward to finally celebrating a trophy with the Italian leader that has shown them the potential they possess.