Antonio Conte hasn’t been at Tottenham Hotspur very long, but he’s given match time to almost every one of Spurs’ first team players. The exception? Steven Bergwijn. While Stevie was likely going to play in Tottenham’s Europa Conference League loss to Mura (he missed the trip, reportedly due to illness), he hasn’t been an option for Conte in any of Spurs’ previous matches.
There may be a reason for that. A recent report in De Telegraaf, one of the leading Dutch newspapers, makes the allegation that Bergwijn isn’t in Conte’s plans, and that he could even depart the club on loan in January, with Ajax very interested in his signature.
The allegation comes courtesy of Mike Verweij, a football journalist and Ajax-watcher, in a Dutch-language podcast on De Telegraaf’s website. I don’t speak Dutch, which necessitated a search for a summary of Verweij’s comments — which I found courtesy of soccernews.nl. Here are the pertinent bits run through Google Translate and cleaned up a bit — Verweij states that Conte has barely spoken to Bergwijn since his arrival at the club, and that Ajax have targeted him along with RB Leipzig striker Brian Brobbey as they seek to retool their side.
“That is the reason that Ajax is busy with Brobbey and also fully committed to Bergwijn. This is simply not good enough. They also realize that if [Sebastian] Haller goes to the African Cup of Nations, you have to compete with Danilo against FC Utrecht and PSV.
”I especially think that Brobbey is very open to it. If he gets Mino Raiola, his agent, with him, he fight with Leipzig to ensure that they will also be open to it. I think they only want him on loan this season, that applies also to Bergwijn. Ajax had very bad finances last year, also because of the coronavirus.
“That is why they now want to sell players like David Neres or Nicolás Tagliafico in order to sign other players. That interest in Bergwijn has been made known. [Antonio] Conte does not see it in him at all. Conte is also the one who opposed Bergwijn’s transfer from PSV to Italy. Inter was an interested club at the time, but Conte did not need him.
“Conte has only said two words to Bergwijn in two weeks at Tottenham Hotspur. That is why Ajax can consider him, but first Ajax will have to sell Neres.”
If Inter Milan were interested in bringing in Bergwijn while Conte was there and he didn’t want Stevie, it would certainly explain in part why he’s not getting a decent look in the team since Conte joined Spurs. It feels harsh on Stevie, but this goes back to what I said in an earlier article — we should be trusting Conte completely at this point in time with regards to the composition of the squad. If that means Stevie has to go back to the Netherlands (and Ajax would be a pretty damn good landing pad for him), then it makes me sad, but it’s what needs to happen.
Who knows what will happen, but there’s a ton of smoke with this rumor. If Verweij is correct, it looks as though Ajax wants to loan him and Spurs would be willing to let him go. And if Spurs can get a purchase option in any potential loan, it might be the best situation for all parties.