Premier League returns: Tottenham's mid-season review
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Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy may give in to Antonio Conte’s transfer demands despite an air of uncertainty around his future. The Italian wants a trio of new signings in January after stumbling in pursuit of Champions League qualification with a poor run of form since the World Cup.
Conte is a divisive figure that can often rile up supporters when results don’t go as planned. His pragmatic style of football is tough to swallow if it does not produce victories and they have failed to beat Brentford and Aston Villa since Premier League action has resumed.
The former Inter Milan boss’ tactics did see Spurs fight back last season and qualify for the Champions League, giving Levy the confidence to sanction a big-money summer transfer spree. Not all the moves have worked out, however, with Yves Bissouma and Djed Spence both struggling to get out of first gear in north London.
Despite a net spend of over £130million during the summer, Conte supposedly wants to sign a midfielder, a right wing-back and an attacker during the month of January.
According to The Times, Levy is open to satisfying all three demands and a number of past targets could be revisited. Spurs were interested in Franck Kessie last summer before he joined Barcelona and his struggles for game time could see him ditch the Camp Nou after just a few months.
Adrien Rabiot is also thought to be of interest to the Lilywhites after a solid run to the World Cup final with France. The 27-year-old will be out of contract with Juventus at the end of the season and he came close to joining Manchester United last summer.
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The pursuit of a new right wing-back is particularly concerning given that Tottenham’s two current options have been signed within the last 18 months. Emerson Royal set the club back just shy of £26m and Spence cost another £20m but neither of them have managed to convince Conte and the latter is expected to leave on loan.
Sporting Lisbon star Pedro Porro is reportedly one of the key candidates to step in, having notched five assists in just 11 league outings this season. The Spurs board are thought to be wary of making signings that other managers won’t like with Conte’s contract expiring at the end of the campaign and he lashed out over unrealistic expectations after suffering a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday.
“I continue to repeat that, last season, we made a miracle,” he told reporters. “It’s not positive for the environment to keep the expectations that, in this moment, are not realistic. I knew very well, I was expecting this moment. Now we have to start to fight.
“I’m not scared. I believe in my work, I believe in these players but don’t ask me things that I can’t promise you because this is only to create an illusion or to give dreams. In this moment you have got to be realistic because if you know the situation, you will face the moment in the right way.”
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