Tottenham and Antonio Conte open talks over vacant manager role

Former Chelsea boss recently left Internazionale despite winning Serie A title

Antonio Conte celebrates Inter’s recent Serie A title win. Photograph: Matteo Bazzi/EPA

Antonio Conte celebrates Inter’s recent Serie A title win. Photograph: Matteo Bazzi/EPA

 

Tottenham have opened talks with Antonio Conte about becoming their manager. Daniel Levy has overseen an extensive search to secure a permanent successor to José Mourinho, which has not been without its frustrations, and Conte is now considered to be the leading contender.

Levy has discussed personal terms with Conte, who left his job as the manager of Internazionale last Wednesday, three and a half weeks after leading the club to their first Serie A title in 11 years.

Spurs are also trying to recruit the former Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici as Levy considers going back to a two-tier management structure, raising questions over the future of Steve Hitchen, effectively the head of recruitment. Levy has previously employed Damien Comolli, Frank Arnesen and David Pleat in the role of sporting director.

Juventus announced last Wednesday that Paratici’s contract would not be renewed, ushering him away after 11 years. Conte worked with him between 2011 and 2014 when he won three Serie A titles with Juventus.

Conte, who won the Premier League with Chelsea in 2017, would be an exciting appointment, if a little at odds with the profile of manager Levy has prioritised. There is scepticism in some quarters as to whether a deal will be concluded.

Conte left Inter because he was unhappy at their plan to sell about €80m of players to plug holes in their balance sheet. He had wanted backing for signings and a greater chance to build on his title win. The 51-year-old would reasonably expect to be offered something similar by Levy but it is unclear where the money would come from, with Spurs having suffered big losses recently.

Levy wrote in his end-of-season programme notes that he wanted a manager whose “values reflect those of our great club and return [THE TEAM]to playing football with the style for which we are known – free-flowing, attacking and entertaining – whilst continuing to embrace our desire to see young players flourish from our academy alongside experienced talent”.

In many respects, the template was a figure in the mould of Mauricio Pochettino, the manager before Mourinho, who worked wonders on a relatively small budget, developing a host of young players as he secured Champions League qualification in four successive seasons.

Pochettino joined Paris Saint-Germain in January and Levy has explored the possibility of bringing him back. PSG have indicated they are not willing to let him leave; he has a further two years on his contract.

Levy has previously spoken to Ajax’s Erik ten Hag, who remains a contender, despite his club having triggered a one-year extension to his deal. Hansi Flick was also in the frame, only for him to leave Bayern Munich and agree to take over from Joachim Löw as the Germany manager after Euro 2020. And there have been talks with Ralf Rangnick, believed to be over a director’s position. Spurs’ interest in Julian Nagelsmann and Brendan Rodgers came to nothing, as the former went from RB Leipzig to Bayern and the latter said he was committed to Leicester. - Guardian

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