Antonio Conte hints at Tottenham exit after ‘I have to go’ claim, with prediction made over popular replacement

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte Credit: Alamy
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte Credit: Alamy

Antonio Conte has suggested that he may “have to” leave Tottenham if he does not accept the “big challenge” of their project.

Conte is into the final six months of his contract as Tottenham head coach. There have been many doubts about whether he will extend his stay. It was initially a struggle to even convince him to sign up; Spurs spoke to him in the summer of 2021 but had to appoint Nuno Espirito Santo instead for a few months before approaching Conte again.

The Italian tactician accepted second time around, leading the club to Champions League qualification. He has guided them to fifth place after 17 games this season.

But Conte has been tipped to leave Tottenham for a return to Juventus, where Massimiliano Allegri is under pressure. Hence, he will be weighing up his future carefully.

Conte has frequently made claims in press conferences that have suggested he is not exactly in agreement with Tottenham’s transfer policy in particular.

Now, he has assessed the challenge he is currently overseeing, concluding with a blunt admission about any potential differences of opinion.

Conte said on Tuesday: “The task for me is to help the club. I signed a contract in November 2021 when I found the club in a difficult position for many reasons.

“Now my task, I understood it very well, is to try to help the club go in the right direction or to come back in the right direction about the choices of the players, about the work, to organise and to create a foundation.

“Now, this is my big challenge here. If I want to stay here, then I have to accept this. Otherwise, if I do not want to accept this then I have to go.”

Outlining what his challenge is, Conte continued: “My task with the club is to create a solid base for Tottenham to come back to be competitive and to have the ambition, but in a strong way, not only with words.

“Here, I understood that my task is different. My task here is to help the club, to build a solid foundation, to create a base and then to try to improve. This is my task here, this is my challenge here.

“If you ask me – and the challenge for you – is to win the Premier League, to win the Champions League, this is not the task here at this moment.”

Pundit predicts Conte to be replaced by Pochettino

If Conte ends up deciding to leave Tottenham, they will be back to square one in terms of filling the managerial position.

Conte was one of a number of coaches they tried and failed to get before their doomed appointment of Nuno. They would not want a repeat of that summer 2021 search.

According to one former Premier League striker, there may be an easy solution for them this time around.

Indeed, Stan Collymore has explained why it may make sense for Tottenham to try and bring back Mauricio Pochettino for a second spell in north London.

Collymore told Caught Offside: “The worst thing that happens to a football club is when the owners get dugout and we’re seeing that happen with Spurs now.

“The owners have so far been very clever; they’ve thrown a new manager in every couple of seasons.

“I think a lot of Spurs fans feel Pochettino played the game the right way, he promoted youth etc. so I think the easiest option for Daniel Levy will be to bring Pochettino and his backroom staff back.

“Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho are huge names but whether they like it or not, Spurs fans believe they should be playing football a certain way and they haven’t done that under either of them.

“Having said that, I don’t think Spurs will get rid of Conte this season. I think they’ll wait to see if they do make the top four first. But if they do miss out on the Champions League, I think it’d be too easy for the owners to try and give the fans Pochettino back.”

Pochettino previously enjoyed a successful spell with Tottenham, with the pinnacle being when he led them to the Champions League final in 2019.

He is currently out of work after leaving Paris Saint-Germain in July. It would certainly be interesting if his next step was to return to Spurs, but it would be a change of style for them after how they have played under Conte.

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