THE NOTEBOOK: Conte's future at Tottenham remains up in the air

THE NOTEBOOK: Antonio Conte’s future at Tottenham remains up in the air amid health battle, Reece James showed it’s only a matter of time before he’s Chelsea’s captain… and Spurs staff are inundated with requests for Beyonce tickets!

  • Tottenham beat Chelsea a 2-0 with goals by Harry Kane and Oliver Skipp
  • Antonio Conte was absent again and his future in north London remain in doubt
  • Recce James captained Chelsea after Thiago Silva went off injured in first half 

Oliver Skipp and Harry Kane both scored as Tottenham beat Chelsea 2-0 in Sunday’s London derby.

It was Tottenham who went closest in a busy first half, with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s low strike coming off the post before chaos followed. 

In the second minute of injury-time, Hakim Ziyech was shown a red for shoving Emerson Royal in the face but the decision was overturned following a VAR check by referee Stuart Attwell. 

Tottenham took the lead just a minute into the second-half through Skipp’s powerful strike before Kane sealed the win with a header eight minutes from time.  

Sportsmail’s SAMI MOKBEL takes a look at some of the things you may have missed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

Oliver Skipp and Harry Kane both scored as Tottenham beat Chelsea in Sunday’s London derby

Antonio Conte’s future

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte remained absent from the dugout as he continues to recover from gallbladder surgery in his native Italy. It remains to be seen whether he is well enough to return ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup visit to Sheffield United. 

The bigger question, however, is whether Conte takes a permanent leave of absence next season amid doubts over his long-term future. 

Indeed, the prospect of Conte and Spurs parting ways hasn’t been lost on a number of managers across Europe who are privately positioning themselves as potential successors should the Italian depart. 

Such posturing isn’t uncommon, particularly when those doing the positioning are provided ample encouragement to do so. With the way Tottenham have performed under Conte’s No 2 Cristian Stellini, who has led the team to three wins in three games under his ‘management’, perhaps the answer is staring them square on the face. Though, that’s just mischief making.

Antonio Conte’s future at Tottenham remains in doubt amid his recent battle with health 

Leicester turned down David Datro Fofana    

Having famously plucked N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez from relative obscurity to initially facilitate their respective rises to the top of European football, Sportsmail discovered this week that Leicester also had the opportunity of signing David Datro Fofana for less than £1million during his breakthrough season at Molde in 2021. 

At the time director of football Jon Rudkin declined the opportunity. After 15 goals in 19 starts in 2022 his modest valuation soared and the Ivory Coast international joined Chelsea for £11.5million last summer. 

Fofana was the fall guy for Pierre-Emerick Aubamenyang’s return to the Chelsea squad on Sunday following the ex-Arsenal striker’s five game exile.

Leicester City turned down the opportunity to sign striker David Datro Fofana in 2021 

Reece James captains Chelsea

We caught a glimpse into the future when Reece James adorned the armband after Thiago Silva limped off with a suspected knee injury. 

During talks over his new contract, that was signed in September, it was made clear to James that he was viewed by the club’s American ownership as a future captain. 

Silva’s early substitution, coupled by club captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s absence due to concussion protocols, saw that promotion accelerated here at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It is a matter of when – not if – James is eventually elevated to full-time skipper.

Recce James captained Chelsea after Thiago Silva went off injured in the first half

Shaun Wright-Phillips visit to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 

Shaun Wright-Phillips chatted away freely in Tottenham’s plush media lounge before kick-off. Having played 125 times for the Blues – not to mention his Arsenal legend father – there are no prizes for guessing who the former England star was supporting. 

If you’re still none the wiser – the navy blue top he was wearing was a clear give away.

Emerson Royal proposes

With Beyonce’s concerts dates here at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium now fast approaching, it feels relevant to report the their flying wing-back Emerson Royal proposed to his now fiancé last week. Congratulations to the Brazilian for ‘putting a ring on it’…

Beyonce tickets

Speaking of Queen Bee, with her Renaissance world tour dates in May selling out in a space of a few hours, Tottenham staff have been inundated with requests for tickets. 

However, Sportsmail understands employees have only been allocated up to four per person. Beyonce’s 2016 hit ‘Sorry’ springs to mind.

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