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Why didn’t Tottenham sign Antonio Conte in the summer?

Antonio Conte, Tottenham
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Antonio Conte has been available since the summer, so why didn’t Tottenham sign him back then instead of Nuno Espirito Santo?

Tottenham are on the hunt for their fourth permanent manager in over two years after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo.

According to the bookmakers and various media reports, Antonio Conte is the favorite to replace Nuno. The Italian reportedly has an 18-month contract offer on the table. He is expected in London on Monday for face-to-face talks.

 The former Chelsea and Juventus boss, who ended a glorious two-year spell with Inter Milan in May, appeared set to replace Jose Mourinho as Spurs’ next manager in the summer. Talks reached an advanced stage but ultimately fell through.

Here we list the reasons why negotiations fell apart last time out.

Youth and money concerns for Tottenham

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy held two intensive days of negotiations with Conte. The Italian’s reputation for signing ready-made stars, however, was a concern. After all, the current financial climate from the COVID-19 pandemic left the club on a restricted transfer budget.

Rather than rely on brute financial strength in the past, the Lilywhites have built teams through youth development.

According to The Telegraph, Spurs feared Conte wouldn’t give their talented youngsters a realistic route into the first team. The club chiefs also felt the Italian’s demands were ‘unrealistic’. Therefore, they have decided to pursue other managerial options.

Conte had major reservations of his own

Conte, meanwhile, believed Tottenham wouldn’t be able to match his lofty ambitions. The 52-year-old, who left Inter because of their plans to sell players, had major reservations of his own and didn’t get the assurances he needed.

The former Chelsea coach’s wish to bring over four staff members with him fell on deaf ears. Spurs were not interested, and it’s understood there was a €3 million difference between the parties in a salary proposal. He also held reservations over the transfer budget and the future of Harry Kane, who stayed put in the end.

 Explaining his decision to Gazzetta Dello Sport in June, Conte said: “Generally, I like challenges and I’ve accepted many of them during my career.”

“Even the top clubs I coached were never the favorites when I arrived. However, if there’s something that doesn’t convince me I prefer not to accept, regardless of the money.”

What’s changed?

This time Fabio Paratici, who wasn’t around when Conte last spoke to Spurs, is heading the negotiations. The club’s managing director of football is confident of doing a deal.

Despite Conte’s reluctance to take a job midway through a season, he was prepared to make an exception for Manchester United had the Red Devils decided to sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

As a result, Spurs are confident they can tempt Conte back into management with a suitable offer and the right assurances.