Conte's £150m reasons to stay at Tottenham after cash injection

MATT BARLOW: Antonio Conte’s £150m reasons to stay at Tottenham… the injection of cash from ENIC will be worth every penny if it convinces Italian to continue his work as he eyes SIX new signings

  • Tottenham announced an injection of £150million to ‘enable further investment’
  • This has been interpreted as a move to stop Antonio Conte’s grumblings
  • Italian knows exactly what is required for him to compete for trophies 
  • It looks like being an incredibly busy summer for Spurs in the transfer market

The £150million injection into the football side of Tottenham was designed and broadly interpreted as a show of support for Antonio Conte.

It is a public response to Conte’s now-familiar grumblings about the need for the club to prove they share his unquenchable desire to fight for trophies if they want him to stick around and continue the impressive work he started in November.

‘We need to improve a lot,’ said the Italian, after a 5-0 win at Norwich on Sunday clinched a return to the Champions League for Spurs after two years out. ‘Next season the league will be very difficult for all the teams.’

Antonio Conte has received a boost in the shape of a new £150million investment 

Tottenham secured fourth in the Premier League  and are hoping their manager stays

He considers Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United far stronger and expects the introduction of five substitutions in the Premier League from the start of next season to tip the balance further towards these super-squads.

‘With five subs you can change a game,’ said Conte. ‘If the bench is strong like a top team, like City, Chelsea, United and Liverpool, you need to improve your squad a lot in quality aspect and numerical aspect.’

This ENIC investment was not dependent upon qualification for the Champions League, according to Spurs. They insist it was in the pipeline as the next stage of investment in the team and the staff.

The fabulous new stadium, a palace for corporate sports audiences, is full again and the tills are ringing after the setbacks of the global pandemic — which was blamed for the pre-tax losses of £80.2m recorded for the financial year ending June 2021, increasing total debts to £706m.

American Football: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was specially designed to host NFL games and four have been played there so far, with two more scheduled for later this year.

Boxing: Anthony Joshua faced Oleksandr Usyk there last September, but the Brit lost his world heavyweight title after his defeat by unanimous decision.

Rugby: In rugby union, Saracens beat Bristol Bears in a Premiership clash in April. Rugby league’s Challenge Cup final will be held at the stadium this Saturday.

Music: Guns N’ Roses and Lady Gaga will stop at the north London venue on their world tours this summer.

Chairman Daniel Levy has his income streams flowing freely and, of course, the windfall from the Champions League will help.

As Levy said in the statement issued on Tuesday: ‘The delivery of a world-class home was always a key building block in driving diversified revenues to enable us to invest in the teams and support our ambitions to be consistently competing at the highest levels of European football.

‘Additional capital from ENIC will now enable further investment in the club at an important time.’

True, the timing is important. Not least because they must prove to Conte they are serious about progress. He will not extend his contract beyond the end of next season if he doubts Levy’s ambition to match the facilities with a team and has taken a few days off to clear his mind before they meet to talk.

He has even allowed doubts to form about his return for pre- season if Spurs do not make the signings he wants.

It is a tactic he regularly plays to put pressure on the money-men as the transfer market opens and he is not averse to quitting if it does not feel right, as he did in Italy at Inter Milan.

There is no obvious place for him to flounce to because if Paris Saint-Germain are hell-bent on winning the Champions League, their first choice will not be someone with little pedigree in the competition when Zinedine Zidane, three times a winner as Real Madrid boss, is out of work.

Chairman Daniel Levy said the cash boost came at an ‘important time’ for the club

Levy, nevertheless, must listen to Conte, who knows how to build a team and instil it with the personality required to challenge for major honours.

He knows, too, the cost and £150m is unlikely to cover it. Not when City, United and Chelsea all set new transfer records in the region of £100m last summer.

Tottenham are already committed to fees of £67.5m to turn the loan deals for Cristian Romero and Dejan Kulusevski into permanent transfers.

Conte is said to want six new signings and at the top of his list of transfer targets is Inter Milan centre back Alessandro Bastoni, who is valued at more than £55m.

Alessandro Bastoni (centre) is a primary target for Conte to reinforce the defence 

Managing director Fabio Paratici will be braced for a hectic summer not only pursuing signings but also generating funds by off- loading unwanted players, such as Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Harry Winks, Sergio Reguilon, Emerson Royal and Steven Bergwijn.

The nature of modern football means that ENIC’s £150m will soon disappear but it is a start.

And it will be worthwhile if it convinces Conte to stay and continue his work, maybe even one day extend his contract, and convince Harry Kane to do the same.

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