‘If something doesn’t convince me, I prefer to say: “no, thank you”‘: Antonio Conte hints Tottenham’s ‘project’ didn’t impress him and his £15m-a-year salary WASN’T the reason for talks breaking down
- Antonio Conte has suggested he was not convinced by Tottenham’s project
- The Italian insists he would be happy to compromise on wages for the right club
- The ex-Chelsea boss said he would rather ‘stay home’ than lead the wrong team
- He left Inter Milan last month after becoming frustrated with a lack of resources
Former Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte has suggested he was ‘not convinced’ by the project at Tottenham after talks to be their next coach collapsed – insisting he would rather ‘stay home’ than manage the wrong club.
Conte had appeared as the front runner to succeed Jose Mourinho in north London having walked away from the San Siro due to concerns over their lack of resources in the transfer market – but negotiations with Daniel Levy quickly caved in too.
The former Chelsea coach has won a league title in five of his last seven seasons in club football and appeared to be a coup in Tottenham’s bid to propel themselves back among the elite.
Antonio Conte (L) has hinted he was not convinced by the project sold to him by Tottenham chief Daniel Levy (R)
But Sportsmail reported last week that Conte was stalling over the move due to reservations about their prospects of winning silverware – with Spurs abandoning their pursuit. The north Londoners were similarly worried that he would not be willing to give opportunities to youngsters.
And in an interview with Gazetta dello Sport, Conte – who usually demands around £15m a year – has appeared to shine a light on his failed switch to north London – suggesting that money was never a problem.
‘Let me say that if my problem or my obsession were money, in the past I would have stayed where I was. I would have accepted compromises, and perhaps [accepted] renewals. But instead I look at the projects and I am willing to stay at home if they don’t convince me.’
Conte has often taken charge of struggling teams and taken them up a level – he took over at Chelsea after they had just finished 10th and won them the Premier League title the following season.
The former Inter Milan boss says he would rather ‘stay at home’ than manage the wrong team
Conte was concerned about Tottenham’s prospects of winning silverware next season
At Inter Milan, the team had been struggling to qualify for the top four in Serie A prior to his appointment and he led them to the league crown in his second year.
If he had accepted the job at Spurs, he would have been faced with a similarly difficult task, with the team set to play in the Europa Conference League next year after finishing seventh, while they face a battle to keep star man Harry Kane.
But Conte insists he enjoys ‘challenges’ and would have no issue accepting a difficult managerial role, but stressed that if he cannot picture himself being successful somewhere he will be quick to decline.
‘In general, I like challenges and I have shown that I have always accepted a lot of them, because even the big clubs I had never started as favorites when I took them,’ he added. ‘But if there is something that does not convince me, I prefer not to say “no thank you”‘.
Conte insists he is not motivated by money and enjoys taking on challenges in his career
Tottenham have now switched their attentions to former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca
Tottenham have now turned their attentions away from Conte and Sportsmail understands they are in talks to appoint former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, who was sacked by the Italian outfit in favour of the man Spurs axed last season – Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese boss is open to a Premier League move, although there is an air of caution about bringing him to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However – incoming sporting director Fabio Paratici is keen on Fonseca, making him one of the front runners for the job.
Spurs have been frustrated in their search for a new coach, with the club missing out on top target Julian Nagelsmann – who went to Bayern Munich – while also being unable to bring back Mauricio Pochettino from PSG.
Ajax coach Erik Ten Haag was a target but ended up committing his future to Ajax, while Conte talks hitting the rocks took them back to the drawing board.
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