It nearly happened in the summer, and the move has finally come about: Antonio Conte is the new Tottenham manager.
The Italian returns to the Premier League after three years away, and after nearly five months out of a job. But the 52-year-old has a wealth of experience at the sharp end, winning a host of trophies with Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan over the last decade.
His early years in the dugout didn’t always run smoothly, though, starting with two short spells at Arezzo which culminated in relegation to Serie C1.
He then led Bari and Siena to promotion either side of a combustible stint in charge of Atalanta, with Conte resigning after supporter protests.
Taking over at Juventus in May 2011 launched his managerial career to new heights as he guided his former club to three consecutive Serie A titles.
Early career (July 2006 – May 2011)
Arezzo (first spell, 2006) – 12 games, 1 win, 7 draws, 4 losses
Arezzo (second spell, 2007) – 15 games, 8 wins, 3 draws, 4 losses
Bari (2007-2009) – 67 games, 32 wins, 22 draws, 13 losses
Atalanta (2009-2010) – 14 games, 3 wins, 4 draws, 7 losses
Siena (2010-2011) – 44 games, 22 wins, 14 draws, 8 losses
Juventus (May 2011 – July 2014)
For all that he’d achieved with the club as a player, Conte returned to Juventus with a point to prove about his managerial ability.
He had limited experience of working at the top level, and none with a club accustomed to winning trophies, but he coped with the pressure admirably.
In his debut season, Conte delivered Juventus’ first Serie A title since 2003 and the subsequent match-fixing scandal that saw them condemned to relegation.
He repeated the trick in each of the next two years, improving their points total and margin of victory both times.
Record: 151 games, 102 wins, 34 draws, 15 losses
Italy (August 2014 – July 2016)
After continued disappointment in Europe, Conte resigned at the end of his third season in charge of Juventus.
He took charge of the national team, replacing Cesare Prandelli, and led them to Euro 2016 with an unbeaten qualification record.
At the tournament, Italy topped their group and impressively beat defending champions Spain in the last 16 before losing on penalties to Germany.
Record: 25 games, 14 wins, 7 draws, 4 losses
Chelsea (July 2016 – July 2018)
Conte left immediately after Italy were knocked out of Euro 2016 in order to return to club management with Chelsea.
He showed his tactical nous in an excellent first season, famously switching to a back three, which rivals sought to emulate as they romped to the title.
His contract was extended but his stay at Stamford Bridge only lasted one more year as Chelsea won the FA Cup but missed out on a place in the Champions League.
Record: 106 games, 69 wins, 17 draws, 20 losses
Inter Milan (May 2019 – May 2021)
After enjoying a break from the game, Conte returned to management with Inter Milan and set about ending their trophy drought.
He went close in his first year, reaching the final of the Europa League and finishing second in Serie A, just a point behind Juventus.
Buoyed by the goals of Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, Inter won the title comfortably last season before Conte elected to leave due to the club’s mounting financial issues.
Record: 102 games, 64 wins, 23 draws, 15 losses
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