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Antonio Conte: Club will have ‘last word’ on Spurs’ January transfer dealings

Antonio Conte
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte says the club will have the “last word” over any potential activity in the January transfer window.

Conte, who arrived in north London in November, has met with chairman Daniel Levy and managing director of football Fabio Paratici to provide his assessment of the squad following his first two months in charge.

And, given the Italian has said there is an “important gap” between Spurs and the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, it seems likely that he will have asked for reinforcements.

“I spoke with the club and I had my thoughts about the situation and this is the most important thing,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea.

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“Then the club has to decide the best way to go. I don’t have expectations. I am a coach and I know that we have to solve many problems.

“For me, the most important thing was speak to the club. I did this and now the club has to decide what we have to do.

“We’ll see the decision of the club, if we want to improve in other aspects or not. If there’s the possibility or not.

“It was a good meeting. A good meeting because the owner and Paratici, they started together this season from the start. I arrived in the middle of the season and for sure they know the situation much better than me.

“A good meeting, a good meeting to speak and tell them my thoughts about after two months I spent in Tottenham. It’s OK.

Conte met with Daniel Levy and managing director of football Fabio Paratici

Conte met with Daniel Levy and managing director of football Fabio Paratici (Martin Rickett/PA)

“Now I am working in the present. I can give this and then the decisions are for the club, not for me because the last word is always for the club.”

Spurs are understood to be trying to sign Adama Traore from Wolves, while they have been linked with a summer move for Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard, who will be a free agent.

Reports in Holland say that Ajax have made a bid for Steven Bergwijn, but Conte has suggested he wants to keep the Dutch winger at the club as he offers something different to Son Heung-min, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane.

“Honestly, Bergwijn, he knows very well what I think about him,” Conte added. “I consider him a player that can play in all three roles, as a number nine and as a number 10 as well.

“For sure, in my period at Tottenham, he was injured, he was injured for a long time but I showed him that when he’s in a good physical condition, I gave him the chance to show that he’s a good player.

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“For sure, Bergwijn is a Tottenham player and he’s very close to coming back. I think that after the game against Chelsea, he can start having training sessions with us. I count on him, also because he’s a player with different characteristics to Sonny, Lucas and then Harry.

“He’s very good in one on ones, he’s a creative player that we don’t have in our squad.”

Spurs are missing Bergwijn, who has a calf injury, Son Heung-min (muscle), Eric Dier (calf) and Cristian Romero (hamstring) for the game against Chelsea, which Conte’s side head into 2-0 down from last week’s first leg at Stamford Bridge.

Romero has been out since the November international break with his injury picked up while on duty with Argentina.

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He is returning to fitness just as the January international break approaches, but Conte says that is not a concern at the moment.

“Our first target now is to try to bring him in a good physical condition to be fit for us,” he said. “I think that, I hope to have him very soon because we need him.

“Also when you lose Cristian and also Eric Dier together, it’s not a simple situation for us. I hope he comes back soon and then we’ll see what happens in the international break. I think this is a secondary problem for us.

“We are talking about another player that’s very close to coming back. Today Cristian had a little part of a training session with us.

“He’s very close, very close to coming back. We’re talking about anther important player for us.”

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