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'For this reason': Conte namechecks £77m player he wanted this summer, but insists he's 'really happy' anyway
Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

'For this reason': Conte namechecks £77m player he wanted this summer, but insists he's 'really happy' anyway

Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has been speaking ahead of the clash with Leicester this weekend and namechecked former midfielder, Nicolo Barella.

Barella is one of the most in-demand midfielders in Europe and over the summer, Spurs were actually linked with a move for the Italian. Of course, Inter Milan were said to want around £77m for their man, meaning any chances of a deal were a no-go.

Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

That’s left Conte with the likes of Bissouma, Hojbjerg, Skipp and Bentancur as his midfield options. And while he namechecked Barella and another Inter star, Marcel Brozovic, he insisted he is happy with his midfielders.

“Two players [like this], for example at Inter Milan I had Brozovic and Barella, players with different characteristics. When you go to play with three strikers you need to have two midfielders to have quality and be strong physically. I think that for this reason we have these type of players. I am really happy because I am seeing a lot of improvement in my midfielders,” Conte told Football London.

Hojbjerg has been a regular fixture under Conte but the ideal partner for him hasn’t been settled on just yet. Indeed, Yves Bissouma came up in conversation this week, with the Spurs boss admitting his new signing isn’t quite at the level needed just yet.

TBR’s View: Conte Keeping Spurs Recruitment On Their Toes

It might be a nothing comment this and be Conte simply explaining how different midfielders can work. However, playing devils advocate, it might also be a way of him reminding the Spurs board of the need to keep improving.

Spurs don’t have a midfielder of the quality of Barella and you do feel if they did then a title challenge – or at least pushing closer than ever before – might be a possibility.

For now, Conte will work with what he has but rest assured, come the summer, he’ll be wanting more.

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