When hope seemed lost in N17, Antonio Conte came into play and changed everything. The Italian made a huge impact on Tottenham’s side, who have been struggling under Nuno Espirito Santo.
The 52-year-old’s influence was seen on and off the pitch, helping Spurs finish the 2021/22 season in the top four. That means they will return to the Champions League for next season, giving even more incentive to potential transfer targets this summer.
Conte wants at least six newcomers this summer and needs upgrades at various positions to bolster his current Tottenham side. The Lilywhites appear to be on the verge of bringing Fraser Forster and Ivan Perisic to N17 as their contracts with their current clubs expire this summer.
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The world class manager, facilities and great location of Spurs and the appeal of Champions League football should all help bring players to N17. Christian Eriksen has already admitted he “would love to play Champions League football again” and that’s probably a thought shared with many others whose current clubs can’t offer that.
Not only does Conte need new players to upgrade his squad, the Italian also needs to grow his Spurs side. Earlier this month, the 52-year-old opened up about the size of his squad as Tottenham have struggled with numerous injuries and absentees throughout the season.
“We need to improve very, very much to improve the quality of our squad and the numbers in our squad. Right now we are fighting with 14 players and 14 players is a tiny squad,” admitted Conte.
The Italian has had to use a handful of the academy squad in his matchday squads due to his lack of players. This will become even more important with the introduction of the five-change rule next season.
This was originally introduced in May 2020 due to the pandemic and will now return for the 2022/23 season. It wasn’t used during the 2020/21 or 2021/22 seasons, but next season managers will be able to make enough substitutions to change almost half of their squad during a game.
Quality on the bench is something Tottenham have struggled with this season, particularly in a few moments where pioneering players could have turned a loss into a draw or a point in three. Therefore, Conte needs these additional players to solve this problem.
However, the upcoming World Cup could spell a blow in the Spurs pursuit for some players. One position the Lilywhites need support at is as a striker, with Tottenham already being linked with the likes of Darwin Nunez and Gabriel Jesus.
Harry Kane is Conte’s current number one striker and will not be pushed down the pecking order with a new signing, meaning anyone moving to north London will have to accept that they won’t start every week. This is something Jamie O’Hara has hinted at as a potential struggle for his former club.
“It’s so difficult to sign a striker for Tottenham because every single striker knows that when you play for Tottenham you’re on the bench. You play Carabao Cup games, FA Cup games and you could be in the Champions League off the bench,” he admitted.
“But Harry Kane is number one and he will always be number one, so you have to be willing to play second fiddle and that’s hard for a player when you go to a big football club to accept you” We won’t start. It’s a difficult situation for Tottenham.”
During a normal summer transfer window, that could pose a problem for Spurs, not just for one striker but at various positions. However, with the World Cup approaching, this creates even more difficulties.
Players will compete to represent their country in international competition at the end of the year. Unlike previous World Cups, the competition comes just months after the start of the Premier League season and if players aren’t getting playing time for their club, they probably can’t expect to be regulars for their country.
Tottenham will have a busy schedule of league games alongside cup and European competitions but will this be enough for some players? This will create a conflict of needing top players to strengthen the squad and create depth, with the new five-substitution rule, but also trying to encourage players who want playing time ahead of the World Cup to make the move anyway.
Spurs must hope they have enough appeal in N17 to bring in the right players to Conte’s side who can help them have an even more successful season than the one that just ended.