At the second time of asking this year, Tottenham look set to appoint Antonio Conte as their new manager.
Spurs had discussions with the 52-year-old Italian about taking over at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium during the summer, but were ultimately unable to come to terms with Conte.
In his place, Tottenham opted to install Nuno Espirito Santo – formerly of Wolves – as their new boss at the end of June.
Barely four months later, Nuno has been relieved over his duties, with Conte widely expected to be confirmed as his replacement shortly.
Assuming that there are no last-minute hitches, how might Spurs line up in the first few weeks of the Conte era? We’ve decided to take a look.
Conte will no doubt have been given assurances that he will be able to add to the Tottenham squad in January, but with as good as two months to go until the transfer window opens, we’ve opted to only include those currently at the club.
How might Tottenham line up under Antonio Conte?
From his previous Premier League stint with Chelsea – where he won the Premier League in 2016/17 – we know that Conte is very comfortable playing a 3-5-2 formation. Given the players at his disposal at present, this will likely be the route he chooses to go down.
The place of captain Hugo Lloris in between the sticks is one of the more straightforward decisions that Conte will have to make.
However, it is those directly in front of the Frenchman that Conte needs to get right. Tottenham were far from defensively sound under Nuno. Conceding 16 goals in his 10 Premier League games in charge, Spurs currently have a goal difference of minus seven – something that the new manager has to improve quickly.
Experience could be the name of the game here. A back three of Cristian Romero, Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier certainly offer that, with more than 90 full international caps between them.
While a solid defensive base is a must, Conte does like to see his wing backs flying forward. Sergio Reguilon is perfectly suited to the role on the left side. On the right, former Wolves man Matt Doherty could finally kickstart his Tottenham career under a fresh manager. Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Sessegnon represent further options for the Italian.
Harry Winks and Pierre Hojbjerg are taken to play holding roles in the centre of the pitch, with Winks being the more expansive of the pair. Their presence should allow both wing backs to push on frequently.
If Dele Alli can rediscover the form he showed for much of the reign of Mauricio Pochettino, then he could prove an invaluable link between the midfield and attack. A brace from Alli once broke a 13-game winning run for Conte’s Chelsea, so the new boss knows how effective he can be at the top of his game.
Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Bryan Gil are others that Conte will need to consider.
The quality of Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane as a duo is undeniable. The style employed by Nuno, however, did not suit them. Kane, in particular, struggled for form under his now-former boss.
A more direct role as a lone striker should suit see the England striker contribute more to Spurs’ goal column.
The ever-energetic Lucas Moura will also likely feature regularly in Conte’s plans as the season progresses.
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We are going to see new faces at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium once the January transfer window opens. However, there is undeniably already plenty of talent at the club. The challenge for Conte will be getting the best out of players who are out of form and low on confidence.
History suggests that he could be up to the task.
Tottenham sign Antonio Conte (Via The Football Terrace)