Paper Talk: Conte tells Paratici to sign £40m star better than old Tottenham target

Luis Alberto being marked by Stefan De Vrij

Antonio Conte has already held discussions with Fabio Paratici over his first Tottenham Hotspur signing, while Aston Villa are sounding out a potential successor to manager Dean Smith – all in Tuesday’s Paper Talk.


Antonio Conte wants Tottenham Hotspur to reunite him with Inter Milan centre-back Stefan de Vrij in January.

Conte looks likely to become Spurs’ successor to Nuno Espirito Santo, who the club dismissed after four months in charge. It will be a big capture for a club looking to rebuild.

The Italian tactician led Inter to the Serie A title last season and has previously won the Premier League with Chelsea.

But he is demanding wherever he goes and will be putting pressure on his prospective employers to strengthen the squad he will be inheriting.

An early target has been identified by Football Insider, who claim Conte is keen to lure De Vrij to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Dutch centre-back was a key part of Inter’s title-winning squad under Conte. He has played in 10 of their 11 Serie A games under his successor Simone Inzaghi too.

But Inter’s financial struggles are common knowledge; indeed, they were the reason behind Conte’s separation from the club in the summer. Therefore, after the exits of Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi in the summer, they may have to make another sacrifice.

Conte is reportedly confident that a deal could be done for De Vrij in January. He would be a useful addition, especially if Spurs were to switch to a back three under their new tactician.

Antonio Conte on the verge of Spurs

Antonio Conte is on the verge of replacing Nuno Espirito Santo at Tottenham, with more news on the Portuguese as well as Dusan Vlahovic.

The report claims Conte has already discussed a deal for De Vrij with Spurs managing director Fabio Paratici. Such a transfer for the 29-year-old may cost £40m.

Conte’s admiration of De Vrij has been clear to see for a while. He was also suggested as a target for Manchester United when the manager was linked with that job.

The report points out that Conte believes De Vrij is better than fellow Inter defender and former Spurs target Milan Skriniar. Therefore, he is willing to allocate some of his transfer budget on a transfer for him.

Tottenham transfer budget for Conte revealed

Antonio Conte, former Inter coach

There are differing opinions about what the overall transfer budget may be. According to The Sun, Conte will be given £150m to spend on signings during the winter transfer window.

They have also predicted he could raid his former club – mentioning Skriniar and striker Lautaro Martinez, who was also a target in the summer before signing a new contract – as well as rivals AC Milan for midfield contract rebel Franck Kessie.

But even that may not be enough to satisfy the intense manager. According to Calciomercato, the Italian has asked for a transfer kitty of around £237m.

They too suggested De Vrij as a target, in addition to teammate Marcelo Brozovic, who plays in midfield.

Milan’s Alessio Romagnoli, Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic, and Juventus’ Federico Chiesa and Matthijs De Ligt are also suggested as Serie A-based targets.

If Tottenham really have convinced Conte to join, they must have done so with promises for the transfer market. Therefore, an interesting few months for the club lie ahead.

Six Tottenham managers who were worse than Nuno Espirito Santo


Dean Smith looking dejected after Aston Villa loss

Aston Villa have informally contacted Paulo Fonseca to see if he may be able to replace the under-pressure Dean Smith. (Daily Mail)

Liverpool and Arsenal are among the clubs willing to offer Marco Asensio an escape route from Real Madrid. (El Nacional)

Manchester United want to sign Real Madrid defender Marvelous Garzon, 18, before he is promoted to the senior side in Spain. (Fichajes)

Newcastle have joined West Ham in the race for another Czech talent, €25m-rated midfielder Antonin Barak. (L’Arena)

Jude Bellingham has denied rumours he is hoping to join Liverpool. (Daily Mail)


Man Utd midfielder Donny Van de Beek straight straight forward while wearing his training kit 2021

Arsenal could revive a previous interest in Man Utd misfit Donny van de Beek due to a family connection. (FourFourTwo)

Tottenham will have to pay sacked coach Nuno Espirito Santo a severance package worth £14m. (The Sun)

Unai Emery is the leading contender to take charge of Newcastle, who hope to announce an appointment this week. (Daily Mirror)

Chris Wilder could return to management by taking charge of Barnsley. (The Sun)

Torino striker Andrea Belotti will not sign a new contract and Arsenal could swoop for him. (Calciomercato)


Paul Pogba features on a list of four players Xavi wants Barcelona to sign if he becomes their new manager. (El Nacional)

Arsenal are plotting a loan bid for Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic. (Ekrem Konur)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 40, will be offered a contract extension by AC Milan. (Calciomercato)

Aaron Ramsey or Weston McKennie will be put on the market by Juventus to fund moves for Dusan Vlahovic and Axel Witsel. (Tuttosport)

Sporting CP will receive an offer from PSG for the services of midfielder Joao Palhinha. (O Jogo)