By Mukwuzi Joseph
Tottenham have appointed Antonio Conte as their new head coach a day after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo, with the Italian using his first statement as Spurs boss to explain why his talks to take over at the north London club last summer broke down.
Spurs fired Nuno after just four months in charge and moved quickly to bring in the former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss Conte, who has signed an initial contract until the summer of 2023.
Conte, who guided Chelsea to the Premier League title ahead of Spurs in 2016-17, has been out of work since leaving Inter Milan at the end of last season, after leading the Italian club to the Serie A title.
He almost joined the London club in June but talks broke down at a late stage and Conte explained why that move had fallen through.
“I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again,” declared Conte.
“Tottenham Hotspur has state-of-the-art facilities and one of the best stadiums in the world.
“I can’t wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach.
“Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching.
“But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark. Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.”
Fabio Paratici, Tottenham’s Managing Director of Football, has been pivotal in the appointment of Conte and he greeted the appointed with these comments.
“We are delighted to welcome Antonio to the club,” he said. “His track record speaks for itself, with vast experience and trophies in both Italy and England.
“I know first-hand the qualities Antonio can bring to us, having worked with him at Juventus, and look forward to seeing his work with our talented group of players.”
Conte is reported to have been handed a bumper transfer kitty and will work closely with Paratici on the recruitment of players, with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy taking a step back from that role.
There is also an expectation that Tottenham will trigger an extension to Conte’s brief initial contract if he is making progress at the club.