Tottenham have reportedly emerged as the leading contenders to secure the services of former Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte after Real Madrid shelved their interest.
Spurs are reportedly looking at the Italian coach as a replacement for Jose Mourinho, who left in April. Ryan Mason has been in temporary charge since, but the north London club are after an experienced head to lead them forward. And it seems like experienced former Chelsea, Juventus and Inter coach Conte could be that man.
Tottenham have earmarked him as a firm target, but Real Madrid are also said to be in the race. That follows Zinedine Zidane’s departure from Los Blancos.
However, it seems like Spurs are now the sole contenders to appoint Conte after it was claimed Real were no longer keen. Indeed, reputable Spanish journalist Siro López claims Conte is no longer a contender at the Bernabeu. He also claims their president Florentino Perez has ruled out club legend Raul Gonzalez at the same time.
And that appears to be good news for Daniel Levy in his efforts to appoint Conte.
The Spurs chairman has reportedly offered Conte a prospective contract of £17million per season, £6m more than the Italian earned last season at Inter.
The Daily Express, meanwhile, claims Tottenham are also in the market for sporting director Fabio Paratici to work alongside Conte.
Paratici left Juventus earlier this week after 11 years in the job. Well respected in the game, he also worked alongside Conte during his spell as Juventus boss between 2011 and 2014.
Indeed, Italian broadcaster and reporter Gianluigi Longari confirms their interest. And the appointment of Paratici could prove a game-changer for their Conte hopes too.
According to a report last week, Conte could well ask Levy to fund transfer raids for three Inter stars. And the name at the top of that list is star striker Romelu Lukaku.
The 27-year-old Belgian has emerged as one the world’s top strikers since his move to Inter. The former Manchester United man scored 27 times this season. That form has seen him linked with a shock return to Chelsea.
Manchester City are also said to be keen.
However, it’s reported Tottenham could also look to Lukaku as a replacement for the wantaway Harry Kane.
Few strikers in world football could match Kane’s goals output for Spurs, with Lukaku one of those few.
Conte could also push Tottenham to bring in Lautaro Martinez. The Argentine became a leading figure in Conte’s side and also comes with a hefty price tag.
However, given Tottenham have options aplenty in Martinez’s position, that move would seem a stretch too far.
It’s far more likely though that Conte could ask Tottenham to bring one of his Inter defensive stars with him.
Therefore, links to centre-half Alessandro Bastoni would indeed make sense. The 22-year-old has emerged as one of Serie A’s top defenders this season, playing 40 times in all competitions.
A left-footer, he’s also a target for Manchester City. And with Tottenham’s defensive frailties obvious, it’s easy to see why Conte would be keen on a reunion at Spurs.
Key to any of these deals, however, would be the sale of Kane first. The striker appears desperate to move on and Levy will be looking for a minimum of £120m for Tottenham’s talisman.