Tottenham stars urge Antonio Conte transfer backing during critical summer after Champions League return

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 (PA)
(PA)

Senior Tottenham players are desperate for the club to back manager Antonio Conte in the summer, after they clinched a return to the Champions League with a 5-0 thrashing of Norwich yesterday.

Conte again refused to confirm if he would remain as Spurs head coach next season following the win at Carrow Road, and the Italian plans to meet club chairman Daniel Levy and managing director Fabio Paratici at the end of this week to determine his future.

Conte is under contract until the end of next season, but has previously threatened to walk away if the club does not match his “vision” and has called for significant investment on “important players”.

Spurs are understood to be preparing to back Conte by giving him a war chest to overhaul the squad and making concessions to his desire to sign experienced winners, counter to the club’s policy of signing young players with sell-on value.

Southampton’s veteran goalkeeper Fraser Forster is among their targets, while they are interested in re-signing Christian Eriksen on a free transfer.

Squad leaders Hugo Lloris, Harry Kane and Eric Dier are among the players to share Conte’s desire for the club to spend, with a belief in the dressing room that Spurs are at a crucial juncture. The players are desperate for Conte to stay and want him to be backed to build a team that can compete on four fronts and challenge for silverware next season.

Levy failed to heed Mauricio Pochettino’s warnings to refresh the squad in the summer of 2018, but has shown more willingness to spend since the new stadium opened, backing Conte with the signings of Dejan Kulusevski, who scored twice yesterday, and Rodrigo Bentancur in January.

Dier told Standard Sport: “I think the club needs to take advantage of this moment, take advantage of this team and this manager. It’s in the club’s hands now. We’ve done our job and now it’s the club’s job this summer to do the best work they can. I’m sure they’ll try to do their best to put us in a position next season for us and the manager to continue to push on and get better and better.

Tottenham’s 5-0 thumping of Norwich at Carrow Road secured their Champions League return (Getty Images)
Tottenham’s 5-0 thumping of Norwich at Carrow Road secured their Champions League return (Getty Images)

“Obviously, we’ve stabilised in the last five or six months, we’ve been improving consistently and the results have come. There’s still a lot of space for improvement and we want to fill that space. The club is in a great situation right now with the manager and players [and] we should use this as a ramp to keep moving forward. [The manager has] obviously been a huge part of it, everything points to that. He knows what we think of him and how much we enjoy working with him, and we want that to continue next season.”

Dier added: “It’s not just investment. The club has a lot of room for improvement in many different areas. Everyone always points to investment, but that’s just one part of it. There are many areas [where] we can improve and we need everyone to be going in the same direction. The players and the manager are. I’m sure the club will do the best they can as well.”

Spurs stand to make around £40million from Champions League football, and club captain Lloris hopes returning to the competition after a two-year absence will give the board the confidence to back Conte.

Spurs stars have now urged the club to back manager Antonio Conte in the transfer market (PA)
Spurs stars have now urged the club to back manager Antonio Conte in the transfer market (PA)

“I believe [he] knows exactly what he wants and needs,” said the goalkeeper. “I believe there is huge confidence. It’s just about making decisions together now. I’m a player, we’re going to switch off from the club [for the summer]. We still have international duties, but now it belongs to the main protagonists to make the right decisions, to prepare for next season as well as we can. Then we’ll come back with desire and ambition.

“[Finishing fourth] is a team win and I think it’s going to give the club the positivity to prepare for next season [under] the guidance of Antonio Conte. It will give the calmness to the board to make the right decisions for the wellness of the club. With confidence, we can grow up faster.

“This end of the season we showed a lot of maturity and calmness, especially in some big moments. Now we need to use this feeling, this moment to become bigger and stronger.”

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