Antonio Conte's Spurs objectives: Get Harry Kane firing, tactical changes, target Lautaro Martinez - Inside Football
Newly-appointed Spurs boss Antonio Conte will set about his task of clawing the north Londoners up the Premier League table with a number of changes to to his team. Conte, a title winner with Chelsea will be hoping to repeat his previous success with his new side and Dean Jones looks at exactly how he will set about doing this.
Tottenham Hotspur appoint Italian boss Antonio Conte
Kane has struggled to get going and while that is not especially different from most other campaigns, when he has taken a few weeks to heat up, the fact he has still not found form is a concern.
It is no secret he wanted to leave in the summer yet Tottenham made clear he would not be going and it was expected that even if he did not score immediately, Kane would soon be back to his old self.
It has not happened. Kane has played nine games in the Premier League this season - starting eight of them - and has just one goal to his name.
That came against Newcastle United a couple of weeks ago and while it was hoped he would then go on a run of scoring, nothing followed. In fact, he has not even managed a shot on target in the last three halves of football.
Perhaps he is struggling to find new motivation or perhaps the team around him are not good enough. Whatever it was, Nuno was not able to find a solution and while it was not his only fault during four months in charge, it is a significant factor as to why he has now been relieved of his duties.
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 30: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur reacts after Manchester United score their third goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 30, 2021 in London
Image credit: Eurosport
Blueprint for success
Conte has tactical ideas on how to get Kane playing at his top level and last night he was laying out his blueprint to club bosses Daniel Levy and Fabio Paratici.
He had a similar plan drawn up for how he would impact Manchester United, as we explained last week, but the call from Old Trafford never arrived and now he has shown willing to return to the Premier League in a different part of London to where he has been successful before.
Conte was in charge at Chelsea for two seasons and his ability to address problems within the set-up was clear. He won the Premier League in his first season and the FA Cup the next term - but the team finished fifth that season and missing out on Champions League qualification was deemed bad enough to lose his job. Since then he has won Serie A with Inter Milan and he’s ready for the next challenge.
Tactically he will seek to work on ways to get Kane scoring goals immediately yet he also has longer term ideas about how the team can grow beyond the next few months and one of those is to bring in a new forward to support Kane.
New arrivals on the cards
The board have given the green light for spending to begin from January and a new attacking figure is something Tottenham have been exploring for a while.
There is an old target that will soon be linked with them again - Lautaro Martinez.
He was wanted by Spurs in the summer and sources are indicating that a fresh approach will happen within the next two transfer windows. He’s still on the radar and, despite agreeing a new contract in Italy, he is still expected to leave Inter in the next year as the club need to raise funds and the new deal protects his value.
Spurs were linked too with attacking players such as Adama Traore, Houssam Aouar, Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa - so Lautaro will not be the only player to be pursued in the coming months. He was such a prime target last summer though that Spurs lodged an offer with Inter, so looking into his situation again will be a priority.
ARNHEM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 21: Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur looks dejected following defeat in the UEFA Europa Conference League group G match between Vitesse and Tottenham Hotspur at Gelredome on October 21, 2021 in Arnhem, Netherlands.
Image credit: Getty Images
Dele's last chance
Changes to tactics and personnel are needed to breathe new life into this side and it’s not just the front line that is struggling.
In midfield there are issues to address with Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele, two players who will have considered transfers if Nuno had remained at the helm heading into 2022.
Dele is pretty much in the last chance saloon as far as his Spurs career is concerned, after failing to impress both Jose Mourinho and Nuno. The work ethic demanded by Conte means he will have to show extreme enthusiasm from day one - and the new boss will also be seeking new life from Ndombele.
He is a player Conte is likely to embrace, with his technical ability and game changing qualities considered a reason to be optimistic about quickly turning around the side’s fortunes.
No holding back
Man management has not been one of Nuno’s strengths in his time at Spurs and Conte needs to get into the hearts and minds of his squad as quickly as possible. His style of management is not to everyone’s liking either though - just ask those that were involved with him at Chelsea.
Spurs players found Nuno to be a difficult person to talk to - despite a general feeling in football that he seems one of the most approachable guys you can imagine. Individual meetings were few and far between and as a result players on the fringes rarely felt part of the project that was supposed to be starting up.
Conte will also be tricky but in a different way. He does not hold back feelings or emotions and can be cruel and ruthless - just as he was when he dumped Diego Costa by text message.
Defensively Conte would take a little time to analyse his options but a move for another Inter player, Milan Skriniar, could be on the cards if Spurs’ current defenders aren’t up to it.
Ultimately, the appointment of Conte needs to work out.
If it doesn’t it won’t just be Kane looking for the exit door again. More failure will lead to Spurs fans pushing for Levy to head for it, instead.