It’s not a question about whether Antonio Conte will leave Tottenham. It is when will he go. Will it be before the end of the season, or will the board let his contract expire? The writing is on the wall for the Italian manager and Spurs are reportedly already looking for his replacement. Which might actually be a very familiar face.
Conte’s contract expires at the end of the season and he is not particularly interested in renewing his deal with the club. As a matter of fact, there is extensive talk in Italy that the 53-year-old is set to return to Juventus. He spent the majority of his playing days in Turin, winning everything that could be won. He worked as the Bianconeri’s manager, lifting three Serie A titles in three consecutive seasons.
The only problem is that Juventus have a manager. An expensive manager on a long deal. Max Allegri’s contract ends in 2025 and there is a clause in it, which means that the club must pay him close to £15m to let him go.
It is not just Allegri who is beleaguered. Conte’s situation is pretty much the same. TalkSPORT pundit and former Chelsea defender Scott Minto called the Italian “a dead man walking,” expressing the belief that the club should fire him instantly, in order to have a chance to achieve a top-four finish.
According to the best betting sites, Conte is the second most likely Premier League manager to leave his post before the end of the season.
Tottenham have not won a trophy in 15 years. Their last piece of silverware was the EFL Cup in 2008 and since then the club is in a period of drought. Since that night in Wembley, on 24 February 2008, Leicester, Wigan, Birmingham, Swansea, and even Portsmouth have won the FA Cup or the League Cup. In the meantime, Tottenham have only reached a domestic cup final, the EFL Cup in 2015, losing to Chelsea. They did reach the Champions League final in 2019, losing to Liverpool, and they were Premier League runner-ups in 2017, finishing 7 points behind Chelsea, then managed by none other than Antonio Conte!
This will be yet another trophyless season. Spurs’ FA Cup Run was cut short by Championship side Sheffield United, while the early League Cup exit was suffered to Nottingham Forest. As for the Champions League, AC Milan kicked Tottenham out of the competition. And in the Premier League standings, Spurs are fighting Newxactle, Liverpool, and Brighton for the fourth Champions League spot.
Last week, Richarlison publicly criticised his manager, saying that he deliberately underutilizes him, saying that it is Conte’s fault that his season is bad (using more colourful language). Conte responded that “indeed, his season is bad. He is professional and must work.”
On Saturday, Spurs defeated Nottingham Forest 3-1. Richarlison found the net and shushed his manager, just to see VAR disallow his goal.
The most likely replacement, according to betting sites, is a familiar face, Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentinian spent five seasons at Tottenham, leading the team to the 2019 Champions League final. Pochettino is also the favourite to replace Graham Potter at Chelsea, should he leave the club.
Pochettino is not the only name mentioned in Northern London as a possible Conte replacement. Former Spain national team head coach Luis Enrique and ex-Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel are also among the favourites.
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