It seems as though Tottenham Hotspur have finally settled upon their new manager as they close in on appointing Antonio Conte.
Spurs have been without a manager since sacking Jose Mourinho in April, with former midfielder Ryan Mason fulfilling a caretaker role until the end of the season.
Chairman Daniel Levy has been linked with several different coaches including Erik Ten Haag, Eddie Howe, Max Allegri and Nuno Espirito Santo since the end of the campaign but it seems now that none of those men will become the next boss.
Allegri returned to Juventus following a two-year spell away from management, replacing Andrea Pirlo who was sacked after leading the Turin side to a fourth placed finish in Serie A.
After originally attempting to bring back former manager Mauricio Pochettino from Paris Saint-Germain, the Ligue 1 side completely refused to release the Argentine from his contract and insist that he is happy to continue with them despite reports to the contrary.
Because of that, it seems Spurs have now moved on after spending a short while prioritising Pochettino and that search has now taken them to former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte.
Conte won Serie A with Inter Milan last season, ending an 11 year run without a title for the club. He walked away from the club at the end of the season however after a dispute with the board, who informed him that they needed to sell at least one key player to bring in around €70m to help balance the books.
That meant he would have no money to spend to continue building the team to challenge next season and decided that was reason enough to leave, with their visions no longer aligned.
It’s not the first time that Conte has walked out on a job after disagreements with the board, as he resigned from his post as Juventus manager for similar reasons before being sacked by Chelsea despite winning the Premier League and FA Cup in his two seasons due to fall outs with the squad and board.
So joining up with notoriously tough chairman Daniel Levy seems like a marriage destined to end by going up in flames.
Conte is without a doubt a world class manager, who has a phenomenal ability to get the absolute maximum out of average. Spurs’ squad at the moment is strong, but is also at the tail end of it’s run and without much cash to spend Conte is unlikely to have free reign in the transfer market.
With Harry Kane desperate to leave this summer, that’s something that will surely come up in conversations between the two parties’ negotiations.
If Conte is promised that Kane will stay and then he doesn’t, the relationship will start off on the wrong foot immediately while if he does stay he’ll be beginning his tenure with his best player far from happy.
Spurs fans are also notorious for wanting to play exciting, attacking football which is not something Conte is particularly known for. The Italian has always had most of his success with a three-at-the-back formation that is centred around being structurally sound and as solid as possible defensively so as to not lose games easily.
He’s also known to be quite confrontational with his squad if necessary, and considering the squad of players didn’t take so well to Mourinho’s style of management it’s hard to know how they’d react to Conte’s way.
Despite that, he is without doubt the best manager on the market right now and would prove to be a real coup.
I think many teams in the Premier League would be wary of coming up against a Conte-led Spurs side next season and he would put a real fighters mentality into the squad. But ultimately, this is a partnership that won’t work long-term.
Conte is too volatile and Levy isn’t the type to stand for much nonsense or be pushed around by his manager, so while there would likely be some short-term progress and success it would all come burning down by the end of his tenure.