Antonio Conte has revealed why he turned down the opportunity to manage Tottenham, when it looked like the former Inter Milan boss was ready to take the job.
The Italian delivered Inter’s first Serie A title for 11 years this past season. However, he quit just a few weeks later amid reports that he would be forced to sell some of his first-team stars to balance the books. The San Siro outfit are struggling financially due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Conte had looked like completing a return to the Premier League, having previously led Chelsea to the title. He had discussions with Spurs but ultimately decided against a switch to north London.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport about his reasons for turning the job down, Conte gave a short response.
He said: “Generally, I like challenges and I’ve accepted many of them during my career.
“Even the top clubs I coached were never the favourites when I arrived. However, if there’s something that doesn’t convince me I prefer not to accept, regardless of the money.”
There have been rumours that Conte was not promised major funds to improve the Spurs squad. Doubts over Harry Kane’s future also played a part in the decision.
Conte still has respect for Inter
The 51-year-old also spoke about his decision to leave Inter, although he still respects club president Steven Zhang.
Conte added: “What I can say is that my project never changed, but it would be nonsense to discuss this now. I don’t want to create controversy or talk about transfers, I respect Zhang and I thank him for choosing me. There is still love for Inter, the club and their fans.
“I wish [new Inter manager] Simone Inzaghi the best of luck because he is a very talented and ambitious coach, I wish all the best to the Nerazzurri.”
Spurs, meanwhile, could be a step close to appointing their new manager – with incoming sporting director Fabio Paratici set to play a big role.
They are now said to have moved for former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, who was ironically replaced by Jose Mourinho this summer.