Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham signing deemed just a stopgap with Conte, Paratici tipped to pursue £50m-rated main prize

Antonio Conte and Inter Milan centre-back Alessandro Bastoni

The reason why Tottenham settled on the signing of Clement Lenglet have emerged, and one reporter reckons Antonio Conte has his eye on a far bigger prize.

Spurs brought their tally of summer arrivals to six on Tuesday morning. Middlesbrough’s Djed Spence was the latest to arrive for an initial £12.5m.

Spence’s arrival means Tottenham have made additions at goalkeeper, right wing-back, centre-half, left wing-back, centre midfield and in the forward line.

Their early business represents a welcome change for Spurs fans who are used to seeing their club scramble around in the latter stages of windows.

The Athletic recently reported getting their house in order early was a directive from Antonio Conte. Pre-seasons are integral for new signings to become fully accustomed to their manager’s tactical demands and system.

However, Sky Sports’ Dharmesh Sheth reckons one signing in particular – Clement Lenglet – may only be a stopgap.

Sheth stated Conte may have his eye on a more high profile target Spurs were heavily linked with earlier this window, though a move may now have to wait until 2023.

Initially reacting to Spence taking the arrivals tally to six, Sheth said: “Tottenham fans must be thinking, ‘what is going on in this transfer window’ because normally they’re used to waiting until the last week or deadline day to complete their signings.

“But there has been a real push from Antonio Conte and Fabio Paratici to say, ‘we want to get our business done early, we’re now in the Champions League and a different market than we were in before’.

“When you look at the six signings they’ve made, this is turning into Conte and Paratici’s Tottenham. Signing a player like Ivan Perisic is a signing Conte would’ve pushed for, Fraser Forster is cover for Hugo Lloris.”

Lenglet pre-cursor to bigger catch?

On the subject of centre-back, Sheth tipped Tottenham to reignite their interest in £50m-rated Alessandro Bastoni in 2023.

Spurs chased the Inter Milan ace in the early stages of the window, though the Italian side resisted any and all approaches.

However, Bastoni’s contract is due to expire in 2024 and if an extension isn’t signed, they may be forced to cash in next summer.

That would mesh well with the deal signed by Lenglet. The Frenchman has arrived on loan, meaning he could be replaced by a bigger name such as Bastoni next summer if Tottenham get the green light to strike.

“It feels like the loan signing of Clement Lenglet means he has another defender in mind,” added Sheth.

“Conte could have one eye on Alessandro Bastoni’s contract situation at Inter Milan.

“Maybe if he doesn’t sign a new deal, they can swoop in for him next summer. Spurs really are building something.”

Can Tottenham enter the title race?

For the first time since the early days of Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham have the feel of a well-oiled machine.

The manager and hierarchy are singing from the same hymn sheet and Ivan Perisic’s signing is clear evidence of that.

The idea of signing a 33-year-old with no re-sale value would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago. However, when Conte asked, Daniel Levy and Tottenham listened.

Conte will have a Champions League campaign to juggle, though he now has the strength in depth to manage that welcome problem.

Liverpool are arguably weaker on paper given Darwin Nunez is the only signing likely to play a significant role next season. The Uruguayan is a work in progress and in his maiden season on Merseyside will struggle to match the impact Sadio Mane made.

Pushing the Reds for second place could well become a realistic aim, though overhauling Man City looks a step too far at this stage.

City are relentless under Pep Guardiola and have shown they’re capable of winning titles without a focal point in attack. Yet for the first time since Sergio Aguero’s prime, they now have a striker capable of dismantling any defence in the form of Erling Haaland.