Antonio Conte makes concerning admission about Spurs’ £20m Djed Spence transfer

Antonio Conte Tottenham July 2022

Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte has has made it clear the signing of Djed Spence was a deal “the club wanted to do”.

The Middlesbrough wing-back finally arrived at Tottenham on Tuesday on a five-year contract. Spurs chief Daniel Levy agreed to pay £12.5m up front for the emerging defender, which could rise to £20m with add-ons.

The 21-year-old comes highly regarded, having helped Nottingham Forest win promotion to the Premier League last season. Still he was not a player that Conte targeted this summer.

But the youngster will go into contention for a place on the right side of defence with Matt Doherty, Emerson Royal and Lucas Moura, who Conte is remodelling from a winger.

Conte said at a press conference: “Spence is an investment of the club. The club wanted to do it.

“I said ‘OK, this player is young but he showed he can become a good, important player for us’. The club decided to buy him.”

Conte is understood to have given the deal the go ahead and he has said he is happy with the transfer business been done so far.

Levy and managing director of football Fabio Paratici have brought in Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison and Clement Lenglet ahead of the new season.

Conte added: “The club was very clear with me and said we reached an important achievement and … now we want to continue to grow. To grow together with ambition.

“For the club, it has not been simple to go into the transfer market and sign players for free. Players like Perisic and Forster — and sign players on loan, like Lenglet and sign players with money, like Richarlison and Bissouma and Spence.”

Conte, who has dismissed fears he thought about walking away last season, says he is trying to build a team that the opposition “worry” about.

Conte aiming for young team to be ‘competitive’

“My target is to try to be competitive. My target is that when the other teams are going to play against Tottenham, they will be, not scared, but a bit worried.

“This is our target. Then I have a group of players that need to have ambition together and to go another step.

“When I arrived in November, I said that if we wanted to try to go up in the table, we would have to go together, to improve the team together. But at the same time, the players have to go to another level. To grow, grow, grow.

“I think we have a young team. We have many players that can play for Tottenham for three or four years together.

“I think we are trying to create a solid foundation. Then to go step by step to improve. And then in the end to fight for something important,” added the Italian.

It will be interesting to see just how much game time Spence gets. Especially with Conte planning on converting Moura to a wing-back.

Conte has a track record of turning wingers into wing-backs, including new signing Perisic.

“I spoke to Lucas and I think this could be a good option [to play at wing-back],” said Conte following the 1-1 draw against Sevilla.

READ MORE: Pundit highlights Manchester United’s reservations over deal for Tottenham new boy Djed Spence