I didn’t figure it would take long, and in this case I was right. Just over one day after Tottenham Hotspur’s dispiriting 2-0 home loss to Arsenal in the North London Derby, the first report has emerged in the British sports media that casts doubts on whether Antonio Conte will remain at Spurs.
I’ll give you three guesses which newspaper it’s posted in, and the first two don’t count. Yep, it’s the Daily Mail, but it’s also Sami Mokbel, one of the few regular journalists at that paper who are worth paying attention to. Mokbel writes that there’s now growing discontent between the Tottenham higher-ups as to whether their vision of the club and Conte’s vision are in alignment.
Conte’s existing deal expires in the summer, though the club have the option of extending by 12 months. However, there is an understanding from all parties that it would be self-defeating to activate the extension if their visions for the club are not aligned.
Conte has made clear he wants to be convinced of Spurs ambition if he is to commit his future given his reputation as a trophy-winning coach.
However, Sportsmail has learned that the team’s results and performances have been under the spotlight behind-the-scenes at Spurs in recent months following a difficult run that has seen them win just three of their previous nine Premier League matches.
Now, look. It’s-The-Mail caveat aside, there’s a ton of speculation in this article, and it’s difficult to put a finger on how much of this is based on actual inside information and how much of it is just putting a finger to the wind and seeing which way it’s blowing. It was a bad loss on Sunday, after all, and the discontent has been simmering unchecked for a while now.
So I’m not telling you that you should think that Conte’s tenure at Tottenham is coming to an end. There’s a lot of ways that this could end, and not all of them result in Interim Head Coach Ryan Mason. There’s probably some actual discernment going on behind the scenes at Hotspur Way, but at the moment this feels like it’s just vibes. And while the vibes are extremely bad, it’s still nothing that a couple of good results can’t tamp down, at least for a while.
That said, we should prepare ourselves for a slew of these kinds of stories over the next few days and weeks. With two tough matches coming up against Manchester City, odds are they aren’t going away anytime soon.