Conte on Burnley outburst
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Tottenham are reportedly desperate to beat Newcastle to the signing of Lille defender Sven Botman to appease Antonio Conte. Spurs endured a difficult January transfer window, with Conte handed just two additions to his squad.
Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur both arrived from Conte’s former club Juventus, but several other targets were missed.
Spurs were reportedly closing in on the signing of Luis Diaz from Porto, only to be gazumped by Premier League rivals Liverpool.
Conte arrived in November to find a squad that had become stale under successive managers.
Several signings were needed to help Conte kickstart his rebuild, particularly in defence where Spurs have been short of options.
Conte perhaps needed a new centre-back to slot into his preferred 3-4-3 formation but one was not acquired.
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Spurs were linked with Dutchman Botman, who has long been rumoured to be of interest to several Premier League clubs.
Newcastle were also keeping tabs on Botman, who helped Lille win Ligue 1 last term.
But, according to the Daily Star, Spurs will attempt to beat the newly-rich Magpies in a bid to appease Conte following a disappointing January.
Newcastle director Amanda Staveley, who helped to broker last October’s £305million Saudi-backed takeover, has claimed Botman wanted to join Eddie Howe’s side in January.
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Staveley told The Athletic: “We were 19th going into the window. So we had that, an illiquid market, and the complexity of COVID-19, which meant clubs didn’t want to sell because they didn’t know where their squads would end up.
“We had to encourage players: ‘We’ll be a safe place for you, we’ll deliver and grow’. Some desperately wanted to come to us, like Sven (Botman), who still does very much and has talked very openly about that.
“Coming through all that showed us we can do it, that we can stick to our plan and if we get criticised on the last day for ‘oh, you’re going after Jesse (Lingard)’, well, Jesse wanted to come to us.
“We did everything. We never stopped. From the start to the finish, we did not stop working.”
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Spurs boss Conte has overseen a run of four defeats in six matches.
Despite an outburst following Wednesday’s reverse against Burnley, in which he suggested his future needed to be ‘addressed’, the former Inter Milan boss has insisted he is not considering resigning.
“No, but I think my words were very, very clear,” he said when asked to clarify his comments on Friday.
“I said that it is not normal in the last five games, to lose four games. When this type of situation happens, for sure you have to refresh, no?
“To think, to start to make an evaluation, why it happened and to try to find the solution, to try to find an answer.
“I think this is normal also because I am not used to losing in this way, when I was a player, when I was a coach. For sure, this type of situation hurts me a lot and I hope also my players and also the club.”
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