Antonio Conte has only been Spurs manager for just over two months but already he knows he has “to solve many problems”.
After finishing second in the 2016/17 Premier League, Tottenham has slid down the table with every passing season and came 7th in the 2020/21 campaign, finishing only three points ahead of 10th-place Everton.
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Ahead of his first transfer window as Spurs boss, Conte met with chairman Daniel Levy and director of football Fabio Paratici to draw up a plan of attack for January.
According to a report in The Telegraph, the meeting between the trio was described as “no-holds-barred” as Conte provided a review of the Spurs squad which was “unlikely to have made for comfortable listening for Levy”.
The meeting ended with all three in agreement that the team needs a new right wing-back, a midfielder and a forward before the January window slams shut.
The squad relies heavily on the brilliance of talismanic duo Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, who scored 40 of Spurs’ 68 goals in the Premier League last season.
The pair are again Spurs’ top scorers this season, although Kane only has four goals in 18 games.
It’s no wonder Conte declared his side operated at a “middle” level in the wake of its 2-0 Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Chelsea.
Speaking after the loss, Conte confirmed a meeting between himself, Levy and Paratici had occurred and he had provided them with a detailed opinion of the squad.
“I spoke with the club and I had my thoughts about the situation, and this is the most important thing,” Conte said.
“Then the club has to decide the best way to go. I don’t have expectations.
“I am a coach and I know that we have to solve many problems.
One of the biggest issues Conte is yet to solve since arriving is the curious case of club record signing of midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.
The Frenchman arrived from Lyon in the summer of 2019 to the tune of $AUD101m, but has simply not lived up to the hefty price tag and was booed off the pitch by fans in Tottenham’s FA Cup third-round match against Morecambe.
The Telegraph claims Spurs are ready to loan out Ndombele as well as Matt Doherty and Dele Alli.
Alli never looked out of place after joining the London club from League One outfit MK Dons in 2015.
He was the talk of the league in the 2016/17 season when he scored 18 goals in 37 league appearances, but has never recaptured the same form.
Now it appears the curtain is beginning to be drawn on his Spurs career, as is Doherty’s who has been one of Spurs’ many attempted solutions to its biggest issue for a number of years.
Ever since Kyle Walker traded life at White Hart Lane for Manchester City in 2017, Spurs have signed three different right-backs for a combined cost of $AUD120m.
Doherty, Serge Aurier and Emerson Royal have all come through the door at Hotspur Way, but it speaks volumes that Aurier has left the club, Doherty is on the chopping block and Emerson hasn’t set the world alight since joining in the summer from Barcelona.
Conte is hoping to provide his own answer to the problem in the form of Wolves flyer Adama Traore.
The Spaniard is a winger by trade, but Conte is hoping to repeat his experiment of when he successfully converted Victor Moses into a wing-back during his time at Chelsea.
Traore is valued by Wolves at $AUD38m, but has failed to register a goal or assist this season.