The appointment of Antonio Conte by Tottenham Hotspur, bringing the Italian back to the Premier League after a 3-year absence, has been met with raised eyebrows across the football world.
Conte, who questioned Tottenham’s ambition back in 2017 during his managerial stint with Chelsea, said he is pleased with the club’s mentality now and says that Spurs has the ambition to “be a protagonist again.”
It is a given that Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would have provided Conte with assurances for him to accept the position as the club’s manager. It is widely documented that the Italian is stern when it comes to building a title-winning team and spending the money to do so, a trait that Tottenham has been lacking, is a major factor in why he has left his previous employers. Therefore, it is assumed that a new approach must be in full effect for Conte to have agreed to head this project.
In contrasting developments, Manchester United, after their demoralizing 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool, were said to have been exploring the possibilities of relieving manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of his duties. There were even suggestions in the media that United had made contact with Antonio Conte and his representatives as a possible replacement.
What happened after is a clear indication of how both clubs see their priorities. Conte eventually signed for Tottenham and Manchester United decided to keep their faith in Solskjaer.
If there was ever a clear indication that Manchester United lacks ambition, it would have been in their decision not to sack the Norwegian after their defeat to rivals Liverpool. The contrast between Ole’s tactics and top managers in the world is clear to see and for a club the size of Manchester United, that is unacceptable. It is evident that, despite his legendary connection to the club, the 48-year-old is out of his depth as head of one of the biggest clubs in the world with some of the biggest names on his roster. The hierarchy at Manchester United decided not to swallow their pride and allowed one of the best tacticians in world football go to a club that is a direct rival.
Tottenham seem to be heading in a new direction, but we shouldn’t be too excited just yet. It was only just recently that Levy signed one of the best managers in the history of football in Jose Mourinho. However, Mou was eventually sacked in his second season at the helm.
So, there is no certainty that Spurs’ new hire will achieve success with this team. But what it does show is that their priorities are in line with a club that seeks to expand their ambitions. It is no coincidence that while Spurs have been seeking to cement their name as a top four Premier League team and UEFA Champions League contenders by signing a Championship-winning manager, Manchester United has stuck with a manager who is yet to win a single trophy.
A shy figure whose career as Manchester United manager has survived off the back of clutch victories and off the field romantics, Solskjaer’s time at Old Trafford continues to divide opinion. He remains on ‘borrowed time’, as many pundits claim. With that said, despite the lack of silverware in Tottenham’s trophy cabinet, the North London club may well be better placed than Man United to see those glory days return.