Unrest gave Levy little choice but to reignite summer fling with Conte
The Guardian|November 03, 2021
In such desperate times the Spurs chairman had to go for a big name and he needed Italian to forgive and forget
David Hytner

Confront the previous inconvenience and own the narrative. It is a staple PR play. And how Tottenham pushed it yesterday as they trumpeted the arrival of Antonio Conte as their new head coach.

The inconvenience lay in how Conte had turned them down on 4 June. At that point Spurs were 46 days into the search for a permanent successor to José Mourinho and, as we know, it would take 72 before they plumped for Nuno Espírito Santo – who had been out of work for the previous 37.

Nuno always felt like an uneasy fit, an appointment that failed to quicken the pulses of the fans and he departed on Monday having virtually stopped them.

On 2 June, the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, had opened talks with Conte, who had left Internazionale seven days earlier. Very quickly, there was a confidence on the Spurs side that a deal could be struck – but then, within 48 hours, it was all off.

There was a blame game, with Tottenham letting it be known they were concerned about Conte’s demands for a budget to reshape the squad – and one that did not factor in the sale of Harry Kane which, in fairness, Levy was not considering, either.

The club also indicated they were worried as to whether Conte would commit to blooding young players, giving opportunities to players such as Oliver Skipp and Ryan Sessegnon. Nuno started Skipp in eight of his 10 Premier League games. Sessegnon has mainly been injured this season.

How did Conte feel about the framing of events? He was not happy, to put it bluntly, even if there was an acknowledgment on his side of Spurs’ need to project a version that defended them. Conte knows as well as anybody how cynical this business can be.

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