Tottenham boss Antonio Conte’s dream transfer is obvious after Watford win

Antonio Conte on in-form Tottenham

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Tottenham Hotspur needed a 96th minute winner from Davinson Sanchez to spare their blushes as they beat relegation-battling Watford 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. Although his side secured a crucial three points, it will also have provided manager Antonio Conte with plenty of food for thought.

Sanchez nodded in from close range following an inswinging free-kick on the left from Heung-Min Son, and the Spurs faithful will feel it was the least they deserved.

Tottenham dominated the game for the most part but struggled to carve out clear-cut openings.

The North London outfit had two penalty shouts, by Harry Kane and Eric Dier, waved away by referee Robert Jones, with the latter being somewhat controversial.

Claudio Ranieri’s Watford set themselves up to be very defensive, often having their entire team behind the ball in order to deal with the waves of Spurs pressure, and they managed up until the dying embers of the game.

The victory means that Conte’s side move into fifth place in the Premier League table, two points behind Arsenal, though they do have two games in hand over the Gunners.

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A big issue for Spurs throughout the game was that they didn’t have any players in midfield to break through the lines and create from deep, though that may no longer be an issue come the summer of 2022.

According to ESPN, Tottenham are preparing to make AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie a ‘lucrative’ pre-contract offer.

The Ivorian is out of contract at the San Siro at the end of the season and has made it clear to the Serie A outfit that he has little intention of remaining with the club despite their pleas.

Milan are believed to have offered Kessie a £5.4million-per-year deal but Daniel Levy is willing to better than in order to provide Conte with a long-term, top-quality midfielder.

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With the Hornets dropping so deep against Spurs, they needed a player to drive the ball forward and link up with the front three of Lucas Moura, Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane, but Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp didn’t.

Of course, that pairing provides stability in the centre of the park, but they weren’t able to exploit how much possession they were gifted as a player like Kessie would have been able to – as shown by his five goals in the Serie A so far this season.

The 25-year-old is a powerful and fierce midfielder who can sit deep and sweep in front of the defence, but he is also quick to join the attack and link up with his teammates if deployed in a more progressive role.

With Conte believed to have a big budget at his disposal to start a major rebuild at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, bringing in a top midfielder on a free transfer would be a great move and allow him to spend his funds elsewhere.

The game also indicated that Kessie’s arrival, if he does accept Spurs’ big money offer, will be at the expense of French playmaker Tanguy Ndombele, who did not feature at Vicarage Road.

The former Lyon star has been linked with a move out of North London recently due to his lack of minutes under Conte and because of how he has struggled to make an impact in the Premier League.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game, former Chelsea boss Conte was reluctant to rule out a move for Ndombele, saying: “I think it’s better for me and the club to speak together and then we’ll have the situation more clear than now. To speak about a player that can come or go, now it’s not right, it’s not honest.”

It remains to be seen whether Spurs are able to secure the signature of Kessie and what he will add to Conte’s team in the 2022/23 campaign, and how the Italian boss will survive without him for the remainder of this season.

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