Antonio Contes first signing at Tottenham may come from the Championship

Nuno sacked by Tottenham after fifth Premier League defeat of the season

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Antonio Conte could make West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone his first signing since becoming Tottenham Hotspur head coach. The ex-Chelsea boss replaced Nuno Espirito Santo on Tuesday, the day after Tottenham sacked him amid a poor start to the season.

Given the challenge ahead, lack of Champions League football and other potential opportunities – for example, Manchester United – Conte will have demanded assurances before joining Spurs.

One of those was likely instant financial backing, which should begin in the upcoming January transfer window.

And according to Sky Sports, Spurs have joined Southampton and West Ham United in eyeing Johnstone, whose West Brom contract expires at the end of the season.

If the Baggies look to cash in on Johnstone in the new year, Conte could make him his first acquisition at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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With West Brom third in the Championship, the 28-year-old could be waiting to see if they will be playing Premier League football next season before committing his future.

But if a top-flight side approached him in January, he would surely be interested in making a switch.

Johnstone is an England international and should be included in Gareth Southgate’s squad to face Albania and San Marino this month.

Despite playing for a Championship club, his stock is still high, and with Hugo Lloris now 34, he could be viewed as the Frenchman’s successor.

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West Brom manager Valerien Ismael is determined to keep Johnstone at the club and has described the contract negotiations as a ‘chess game’.

He told reporters: “From January, we will start to go more intensively in the discussion, but at the moment, we’re all focused on the pitch, on the performances.

“We know what we have to do to give ourselves a good position for the negotiation with him. It’s a patient game now, like a chess game.

“He wants to see. For sure, we want to extend and, at the minute, I’m not worried, it’s a normal process. When your contract is up, you have the choice, and I completely understand the situation.

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“My job is to make sure that West Brom is in a great position and that West Brom is the right club for him.

“I have spoken frequently with him, not only about the contract situation but also about the national team, about games, build-up, and how we can improve.”

Whether Tottenham’s interest becomes concrete or if Johnstone was a Nuno target remains to be seen.

But he certainly seems to be heading for the exit door at the Hawthorns and could be somewhat of a coup for whichever club picks him up either in January or for free next summer.

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