Antonio Conte future: Tottenham boss could miss bumper payday
Antonio Conte could miss out on the prospect of a £15million payday by leaving Tottenham Hotspur before the end of the season.
Tottenham are expected to agree Conte’s exit after the Italian criticised the club’s players following the 3-3 draw with Southampton in which Spurs let a 3-1 lead slip.
Over the course of the season, Conte has made it clear that his issues at Spurs are not financial and instead related to the ambition and mentality of the club and players.
Conte’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season, which means the Italian would be due almost £4m if Tottenham sack him during the international break. But Telegraph Sport understands that Conte’s contract includes a clause that would allow him to choose to stay on for an extra 12 months should the club finish the season in the Premier League’s top four, which would be worth a further £15m.
While the 12-month extension option is currently in Tottenham’s favour, it is believed that would move to Conte’s favour in the event of a top-four finish with him still at the helm. However hypothetical and unlikely the scenario currently seems, Tottenham are likely to want to be sure that they could not leave themselves liable for any claim against the 12-month option as a result of Conte’s early departure.
Spurs could sack Conte and agree to pay the remainder of his initial contract in one lump sum, which is just under £4m, place him on gardening leave and pay his normal salary until the end of the season or find a mutual settlement for less than the value of his deal.
Sources do not believe Tottenham currently have a strong case for trying to sack Conte for any alleged breach of contract with no compensation, despite his criticism of the squad.
Conte has returned to Italy while Tottenham have held talks over his future this week, with his assistants Ryan Mason and Cristian Stellini taking charge of training and overseeing a behind-closed-doors friendly against Ipswich Town.
Tottenham have attempted to maintain a business as usual attitude with the coaching staff and players who have been at the training ground this week, but club sources recognise that clarity on Conte’s situation is required before players on international duty start to return next week. Levy is believed to have given consideration to installing Mason as an interim manager until the end of the season and trying to make a permanent appointment by checking on out-of-work candidates.
Tottenham have suffered a further blow to their top-four hopes after defender Ben Davies was ruled out for four to six weeks with the hamstring injury he suffered against Southampton.