Conte delivers Tottenham team news ahead of Chelsea clash
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Less than 24 hours before the January transfer window was opened, Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte said his “evaluation” was done. Whether this ominous warning was to his current crop of players, his title rivals, or even Spurs chairman Daniel Levy remains unknown.
“Yes I believe so. I made an evaluation after two months of work with my players,” Conte said before his side’s New Years Day clash against Watford.
“The situation is more clear than before. I am waiting to have a meeting with the club to give my opinion about the squad and what I think about our situation.
“After only two weeks I said we needed to improve the quality of this squad. For sure we need to.
“I was sure after seven to 10 days about this and then I had to make the evaluation over who I can count on and who I can’t. The gap is very large and we need to work a lot and try to build and improve our squad.”
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The Italian’s comments spoke volumes and connoted his desperation to refresh his Tottenham side.
And his wish could be granted, as November reports from the Sun claim the Italian will be handed a £150m transfer budget in the current window.
This sizable war-chest represents a £32m improvement on his debut transfer budget at Chelsea, which saw the Italian sign Marcos Alonso (£20m), David Luiz (£31m), N’Golo Kante (£32m), Michy Batshuayi (£35m), and substitute goalkeeper Eduardo (free).
It was a magnificent transfer window which propelled the Blues to the Premier League title, a feat they have not achieved since Conte’s departure
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Kante was, and continues to be, incredible, and Luiz thrived in Conte’s three man back-line playing some of the best football of his career.
Alonso also relished the attacking freedom of Conte’s system, and Batshuayi, while mostly utilised as an impact substitution, scored the vital goal against West Bromwich Albion which sealed the Premier League title.
However, the success of that magnificent title winning campaign did not extend much further for Conte’s arrivals, aside from Kante who is still the heartbeat of this Chelsea side.
Alonso has not been able to replicate the form from his debut season and was briefly relegated to the role of third choice left-back during Frank Lampard’s reign.
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Luiz’s erratic and unpredictable nature returned the following season, prompting Conte to sign Antonio Rudiger the following window, and Batshuayi was loaned to Borussia Dortmund, having grown frustrated by his lack of opportunities.
Levy is a very pragmatic and astute salesman and finance professional, who has already had his hands stung by the failed transfers of previous managers.
The arrivals of Tanguy Ndombele and Giovanni Lo Celso’s arrival in the 2019-2020 season left a £90m hole in Tottenham’s finances which have not generated too much return of investment.
Kante aside, the long-term success of Conte’s debut signings are questionable to say the least. Spurs have generated an awful lot of momentum in the Premier League since Conte’s arrival and sit in a very promising sixth position with two games in hand over West Ham and Arsenal.
Conte and Tottenham cannot afford to lose their momentum, and their season could very well hinge upon their activity in the transfer window.
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