Conte to Spurs almost done

Bar a late U-turn it appears Tottenham will confirm Antonio Conte as their new head coach on Tuesday. After just 10 Premier League games and 124 days in charge, the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo on Monday was chairman Daniel Levy’s swiftest dismissal in his two decades at the club, and now Conte is on the brink of taking charge. The 52-year-old Italian is expected to be given financial backing to turn Spurs into title challengers, £150m according to The Sun, while he has been given assurances he will operate with director of football Fabio Paratici’s support – having already worked together at Juventus. Both the Mail and Telegraph claim it’s a £20m deal lasting until the end of next season. Tottenham are also said to be exploring the possibility inserting a 12-month extension option.
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Paper Round’s view: What a waste of time. 10 games down in the league and here we are. You have to wonder what went wrong in the summer that has now gone so right for Spurs and Conte. Perhaps Nuno’s struggles elevated Conte’s status, and worth, allowing him to perhaps command a higher salary, but it’s difficult to shake the sense that all of this could have been avoided. Nevertheless, it’s looking to be a major coup for Spurs and can only take them in one direction.

Eight players that could join Conte at Spurs

The Mirror has listed eight players that could follow Conte in joining Spurs. Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic and Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic are two names that feature, so too Franck Kessie, Manuel Lazzari and Federico Chiesa, while centre-backs Stefan De Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni and Matthijs de Ligt are also mentioned, with Conte seeking one to come into the Spurs defence.
Paper Round’s view: Names, names, names. This is inevitable, particularly if £150m really is on offer for Conte, and so it will be fascinating to see how quickly he transforms the side and which players he not only brings in, but also looks to move on. For Dele Alli in particular, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

Villa sound out Fonseca

Aston Villa have sounded out Paulo Fonseca as a possible replacement for Dean Smith, the Mail reports. Villa have lost four Premier League games on the spin, and with Smith now under pressure, informal contact has been made with Fonseca’s representatives. Chief executive Christian Purslow was supportive of Smith, but the club are currently 15th in the table and the contact with Fonseca highlights that options are being explored.
Paper Round’s view: For Smith to avoid following Nuno’s lead he will have to start winning at Villa, and with just a trip to Southampton on Friday before the international break, that match at St Mary’s could be crucial. Lose it and Villa’s hierarchy will have a fortnight to stew on five straight losses. Win and the pressure is lifted. Draw? Well, not sure, but after the Saints it’s Brighton and Crystal Palace before matches against Manchester City, Leicester and Liverpool – not easy.

Emery to Newcastle?

Newcastle are expected to announce their new manager this week with Unai Emery the latest leading contender to replace Steve Bruce, the Mirror reports. It has been almost a month since Newcastle’s new owners took over from Mike Ashley, and after dismissing Bruce on October 20 the club are close to naming a new manager ahead of the international break. Villarreal boss Emery has garnered more favourable support among the Newcastle board, while others including Fonseca, Roberto Martinez, Lucien Favre and Eddie Howe have all split opinion.
Paper Round’s view: Congratulations Newcastle – 2023-24 Europa League champions, and then? Who knows. Emery would be a fine choice for the Toon, but whether Newcastle can convince him to swap Villarreal for what will initially be a relegation scrap remains to be seen.
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