Tottenham missed out on five top Conte transfer targets before exit

Head coach Antonio Conte leaves Tottenham by mutual consent

Former Tottenham boss Antonio Conte often lambasted his employers over their lack of ambition in the transfer market, before he marked his exit with a typically explosive press conference by criticising the team and their mentality. The Italian’s departure was confirmed late on Sunday evening, with Cristian Stellini staying on and taking over the top job until the end of the season. The relationship between Conte and Spurs initially offered so much promise, however, among his many complaints and the reasons for its deterioration, his transfer plans were often ignored and the team may have looked completely different if Conte got his wish in the transfer market. Here, Express Sport has looked at five Conte targets who Spurs missed out on during his time in north London.

Alessandro Bastoni

Conte won the Serie A title with Alessandro Bastoni at the heart of his defence at Inter Milan, while there were strong rumours that the new Spurs head coach wanted to bring him with him to north London. Inter were under pressure to sell some of their stars, as Romelu Lukaku exited to Chelsea, while Bastoni was linked with Spurs and PSG.

There was room for a left-sided defender to move to Spurs, as Inter reportedly demanded a fee of £50million for his services. Ultimately, Daniel Levy and co decided against a move for the Italian defender and ended up signing Clement Lenglet on loan from Barcelona instead.

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Josko Gvardiol

A similar story to that of Bastoni, as Conte targeted several left-sided defenders during his time at the club. Chelsea were also interested in the Croatian and they were thought to be close to landing him for £77.7m in the summer.

Though the fee may have been too rich for Spurs, links predated the Chelsea bid and they were happy enough spending big-money on Richarlison who did not fit in Conte’s system with Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski, perhaps someone like Josko Gvardiol may have been a smarter purchase.

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Adama Traore

Conte has a habit of turning wingers into wing-backs, as he converted Victor Moses into a title-winning defender during his time at Chelsea and then repeated the trick with Ivan Perisic at Inter Milan.

There were strong rumours that he wanted to do the same with Wolves’ Adama Traore, who Spurs have had a long-standing interest with themselves. The Spanish international was available in Conte’s first transfer window just over a year ago, but Spurs were gazumped by Barcelona.

Tottenham have struggled in the wing-back position with neither Emerson Royal nor Matt Doherty doing enough to nail down a regular spot in the team prior to Pedro Porro joining in January, but Spurs could have fixed that problem by moving for Conte’s target a year sooner.

Sven Botman

Newcastle defender Sven Botman was another left-footed defender eyed by Conte alongside Bastoni and Gvardiol, though the Italian had to settle for Lenglet instead. The Telegraph claimed that the Netherlands man was on a shortlist and Conte had plans to strengthen the back three following Cristian Romero’s arrival, but only Lenglet has since joined in that area.

Eddie Howe’s outfit ended up sealing a £35m deal for Botman and he alongside Fabian Schar have gone on to become part of the best defence in the Premier League this season.

Sofyan Amrabat

Tottenham were named as one of the several clubs interested in bringing Sofyan Amrabat to the Premier League after he was one of the breakout stars at the World Cup with Morocco. Spurs, alongside Liverpool and Manchester United, were keen on the midfielder but neither were prepared to meet Fiorentina’s asking price.

Whether Spurs needed another tough-tackling midfielder was the question, but Rodrigo Bentancur’s injury did set them back and if Amrabat was able to slot into the team then circumstances may have panned out differently.

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