Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has revealed that Spurs director of football Fabio Paratici blocked a move for Dejan Kulusevski while the pair were at Juventus.
Kulusevski made the move from Turin to north London in the January transfer window. And the Sweden international has had an instant impact, scoring one goal and assisting another in four appearances.
Indeed, those contributions both came on Saturday as he helped Tottenham beat Manchester City 3-2.
As a result, he has adapted quickly to the Premier League under Conte’s leadership. He has also quickly formed a strong relationship with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
However, Conte has now revealed that he does not feel surprised by Kulusevski’s instant impact. In fact, Conte knew the 21-year-old would suit his style of play when he tried to bring him to Inter from Juventus.
Nevertheless, former Juve transfer chief Paratici – who moved to Spurs in June – blocked the manager’s approach.
Conte told Football London: “No, he didn’t surprise me, because I asked for him when I was at Inter from Juventus.
“I opened the idea with Paratici, but he opened the idea to cut [me out of the deal], not to reinforce Juventus.
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“You understand, but to only to damage myself! Because in the transfer market, there is a strategy.
He tried also with [Romelu] Lukaku, Paratici. To buy Lukaku for Juventus because he knew very well that I like him and wanted him in my team.
“It was the same for Kulusevski, but at that time, maybe Juventus were stronger than us in the transfer market.”
Conte added that Kulusevski has the perfect blend of being a “good player to develop”, but is also “ready to play” this season.
The attacker, who also plays at a wing-back, has picked up 20 Sweden caps, including at Euro 2020.
Kulusevski harnessing Conte, Tottenham mentality
Spurs’ 3-2 win over Tottenham was the perfect response to three successive Premier League defeats.
The performance also showed exactly the kind of mentality Conte wants from his Tottenham regime.
Indeed, he has regularly stressed the need for his side to “suffer” for results if they are to close the gap to the likes of City and Liverpool in the Premier League.
Conte will hope his players can harness and carry on such performances as against City as they strive for a top-four finish.
They currently sit eighth in the top flight, but only seven points separate them and Manchester United in fourth.
Speaking in a previous press conference, Conte made a comparison with how Bayern Munich respond to rare setbacks in their regular dominance of German football.