Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has suggested that Tottenham Hotspur’s proposals were what put him off taking the job in north London.
The Italian, just over a week after leaving Inter Milan, appeared destined to secure an immediate return to management and a return to the Premier League, with Spurs having held talks with him over the prospect of him replacing Jose Mourinho.
With talks having progressed well, Spurs seemed confident that they had got their man, finally bringing an end to a near two-month search for a new permanent head coach. However, talks collapsed at the 11th hour, forcing chairman Daniel Levy to go back to the drawing board in his search for Mourinho’s successor.
It is believed that Conte had pulled out of discussions to take the job because he was not willing to take it on without a hefty-sized transfer budget, with Spurs in need of selling players this summer before strengthening the squad with new faces.
However, Conte has now revealed that money was not what forced him to pull out of taking the job, implying that it was the proposal and project put to him by the north London outfit that swayed his decision to not take on the role.
“Money is not my obsession,” Conte told Gazzetta dello Sport. “I look at projects and I’m ready to stay at home if they don’t convince me.
“I like difficult challenges but if there is something with a club that does not convince me, I prefer to say: no, thank you.”
Conte, for many Spurs fans, was seen as the ideal choice to become the club’s new head coach, having achieved plenty of success in his career already, including at Stamford Bridge.
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But the bright and bubbly Italian has always had financial banking, something, as outlined above, that would not have been available at Spurs until they had trimmed the size of the squad and offloaded those no longer in the club’s plans.
Although Levy will have been no doubt left frustrated by Conte’s decision to pull the plug on taking the job, the Spurs owner now seems set to appoint former Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonseca as Mourinho’s replacement.
football.london understands that talks are ongoing between Fonseca and Spurs, whilst it is also believed that new director of football Fabio Paratici is central to the idea of hiring the Portuguese chief.
Fonseca has only been out of work a matter of weeks since leaving Roma, where, of course, he has been replaced by Mourinho.