A post-season meeting at Tottenham Hotspur will define what comes next in north London with Antonio Conte linked elsewhere and the likelihood of former manager Mauricio Pochettino being in the market for a new job.
Spurs’ final games of last season were marked by talk of the future of Harry Kane and now 12 months later it is Conte’s future that is being discussed as his side face to five crucial games in their bid to finish fourth in the Premier League and advance to the Champions League next season. A report in France has claimed that the Italian has offered himself to PSG as Pochettino’s successor for the next season. Those around Conte have dismissed the reports as mere speculation, as they must for a head coach who is under contract for another season at Spurs and football.london understands that there is no official break clause this summer in the former Inter Milan manager’s contract.
There is currently a sense of flux over Conte’s situation at Tottenham with all eyes on the rest of the campaign ahead of a meeting between head coach, chairman Daniel Levy and chief executive of football Fabio Paratici after the end. of the season. The 52-year-old has publicly stated that he has found a club further back in their development than he expected from the outside, although there is no doubt he has since pulled them from the mess they were in when he arrived. in November to a team that now has fourth place in its hands with five games to go.
READ MORE:What Conte did to Spurs players in the Brentford dressing room and his big summer transfer overhaul
PSG noise, while of no help to Spurs at this tricky stage of the season, plays into Conte’s hands when it comes to putting more pressure on Levy to find the finances. a major overhaul this summer to turn the club into a title contender. wishes of the head coach.
Spurs fans’ frustration with the club’s hierarchy will reach new heights if Conte were to walk after the end of the season, lasting just over six months after Nuno Espirito Santo managed just five. although there has also been growing irritation among certain sections of the fanbase. in Conte’s very deliberate way of only talking about this campaign and no more. The former Chelsea boss has also never been shy about stating that he thinks it is better than the stadium where Tottenham are currently located.
How he handles questions over PSG links and next season at this Friday’s press conference ahead of the Leicester game will no doubt be closely scrutinized. Spurs have planned a pre-season under the Italian, with two games to be played in South Korea, talks of a friendly against Rangers in Glasgow upon their return and then a game in Israel against a European opponent at the weekend. end before the Prime Minister. The championship season begins.
For Conte, it will all depend on the situation around him and what he thinks the club are capable of next season and he has previously indicated he would not hesitate to walk away if he weren’t. not supported.
“Honestly, I have my vision and the vision is this, it doesn’t change,” he said last month. “The vision was the same in the past, the vision is the same in the present, the vision will be the same in the future. The vision will be this. I stop if someone’s vision is not the same. OK. It’s OK. I have a vision. A vision. I want to fight to win. I want to fight to be competitive. I want to feel that we only have one percent but we have need a percent to win the title or trophy in which we participate.
“We have to feel that. It’s my vision and I continue to have that vision. And then I know there are different visions and many clubs have different visions but I think what is my vision and the vision which led me to be competitive and for sure I follow my vision in any case.”
He then added: “Right now it’s important to focus on the present and we have a lot of time to sit around the table and then talk about everything. At the end of the season everyone has to talk about his own vision, and I’m talking about my vision, and I also think the club will talk about his vision, and Paratici will talk about his vision, and then we’ll see. After that, we’ll see now, it’s too soon. We have to be in the present, the future is very far away right now. There will definitely be a time when we go to make decisions.”
The link between PSG and Conte is interesting. While the French giants offer a sparkling array of stars to work with and riches galore, Ligue 1 isn’t one of the toughest leagues compared to Europe’s main flights and for a Premier League and multiple winners of Serie A titles like Conte, it wouldn’t represent a step forward in that regard.
The challenge at PSG lies in their greatest desire – to win the Champions League – and this is one area where the Italian has failed in his brilliant managerial career. He won the competition as a player for Juventus, but as a manager his European peak came in the Europa League final in 2020 with Inter Milan, where they lost to Sevilla.
In the Champions League, with Chelsea and Inter, Conte has won just three of his last 15 Champions League games. The furthest he has reached in the sport’s elite club competition was the quarter-finals in 2012-13 with Juventus, losing 4-0 on aggregate to Bayern Munich, although it was the first appearance of the Turin club at this stage in seven years.
PSG would favor Zinedine Zidane as their next manager, with the Frenchman having won the Champions League three times as Real Madrid manager as well as the FIFA Club World Cup twice, but there are suggestions that he dreams of leading his national team after the World Cup. Cup.
Then there is the current PSG manager – a certain Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine is expected to leave the club after taking them to their joint record 10th Ligue 1 title this week.
The 50-year-old added the first league title win of his coaching career to last season’s cup double with PSG, but his relationship with fans at the Parisian club has been rocky with boos during the matches and a large portion of them are gone mid-game. Saturday to celebrate the team’s away title win.
That Pochettino couldn’t take a PSG side of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe past the Champions League semi-finals last season or the last 16 this year ultimately defined his time in Paris, along with the title of Ligue 1 the bare minimum required by the supporters.
There have been reports in France that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has called Pochettino several times over a return to N17. However, those in the Argentinian camp said football.london that’s not the case, with relatively little contact between the pair lately, other than the odd friendly message.
There is of course a certain irony in the prospect of PSG paying compensation to Levy to take Conte away and Spurs in turn bringing Pochettino back from Paris for nothing. If Conte were to leave, the Spurs chairman would likely see Pochettino as the only man to mitigate some of the fanbase backlash.
However, while Pochettino has often spoken of his desire to finish ‘unfinished business’ at Tottenham and his love for the club, the current structure of the North London side is not one he likes. The Argentine isn’t the sporting director’s biggest fan of the setup and reportedly had a strained relationship with PSG’s Leonardo.
At Tottenham, Pochettino worked with Paul Mitchell and Steve Hitchen, but both were his friends before their appointments. Even then, the Argentine complained publicly during his last summer at the club that he had become more of a coach than a manager despite his title. What any potential return for Pochettino would mean with Paratici’s position at the club is unclear.
For now, all eyes are on the rest of the season with Tottenham and a fourth-place finish and Champions League qualification would help shed some light on the summer.
Conte will wait until the end of the campaign to hold that crucial meeting with Levy and Paratici before all parties decide what’s next.
It has also been suggested that Conte would be keen to manage Roma if the Serie A club and Jose Mourinho part ways, but with six months of foundations already laid at Spurs, Conte will feel that with the right backing he can take on the club. . to new heights.
When he gets that backing, Conte’s CV suggests he’s successful and the Tottenham hierarchy knew when they appointed the Italian that they were bringing in someone who would not only raise fan expectations but also the expectations of that player. what they have to do after 20 years with only a League Cup to their name.
Pochettino has adapted Tottenham better than any other manager in the modern era, but he could only take what he had been working with so far. On the other hand, with Conte, Tottenham must adapt to the Italian rather than the other way around and this is what this summer will depend on. Some might suggest it’s time to change the mold.