Djed Spence isn’t the only Tottenham player getting the cold shoulder from Antonio Conte, as summer signing Destiny Udogie claims he has never actually spoken to his new manager.
Tottenham signed right-back Spence from Middlesbrough on July 19, following his successful season on loan at Nottingham Forest. As per The Guardian, Spence cost Tottenham an initial £12.5million and the deal could eventually be worth £20m.
The defender was hoping to challenge Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty for a starting spot on the right flank. However, he has only played once for Tottenham so far. And that appearance only lasted a few minutes.
Shortly after Spence’s arrival in north London, Conte suggested he didn’t actually want to sign the 22-year-old and that the matter was out of his hands.
“Spence is an investment of the club. The club wanted to do it,” Conte told a press conference.
“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.”
Having only joined in the summer, pundits are already predicting Spence will leave Tottenham in January. In September, former Spurs right-back Alan Hutton said: “It has not gone to plan for Spence which is a shame because he has ability. If this continues towards January he is going to have to look to get out on loan and play. He is too good to sit on the bench.
“You do not want that to affect him moving forward. He will want to be playing week in, week out. If that means going out on loan and coming back a better player so be it.”
Spence is now looking out for potential loan opportunities so he can continue his development away from Conte’s side. Should he impress elsewhere, then he could still return and make an impact at Spurs.
Destiny Udogie in similar boat to Spence
Another full-back captured during the summer is Udogie. The Italian, who operates on the left side of defence, joined for a reported £15m from Udinese. Spurs immediately sent him back on loan to Udinese for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign.
During an interview with Italian source La Repubblica (via Sport Witness), Udogie was asked if he had spoken with Conte when signing for Spurs. The player confirmed this isn’t the case, with Conte giving another arrival a cold welcome.
“Serie A helps you grow,” Udogie said. “The months I remain here on loan at Udine will be important to improve myself further. In my head, I’m here now, meaning I haven’t heard from Conte yet.
“The Premier League doesn’t scare me. The football is fantastic and I have always spoken English at home with my parents, who were born in Nigeria.”
Udogie’s situation isn’t as bad as Spence’s given the fact he is not actually playing for Spurs yet. He doesn’t technically have to chat with Conte until he moves to England next summer.
Spence, in contrast, is having to deal with spending most of Spurs’ matches on the bench. This must be incredibly frustrating after a top season with Forest last time out.
Despite Udogie’s treatment not being quite as bad, it still isn’t a good sign that Conte has failed to greet him. Most managers would make contact with their new signings and wish them luck for the season at their loan club.
Meanwhile, Spurs are reportedly rivalling Chelsea for the signing of an attacker who has recently been compared with two Man Utd stars.