'Terrible': Paul Merson shocked by what he's heard from Conte at Tottenham this week
Paul Merson has criticised Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte for admitting Djed Spence wasn’t his signing.
Spurs completed the signing of the 21-year-old from Middlesbrough earlier this week.
According to The Guardian, Tottenham are paying an initial £12.5m, but the fee could rise to £20m with add-ons.
Spurs had been linked with Spence for much of the summer, though talks dragged on for a while.
And this week, Tottenham made the England Under-21 ace their sixth signing of the summer.
He will now compete for the right wing-back position with Matt Doherty, Emerson Royal and Lucas Moura.
Speaking to the press after Spence’s arrival, Conte conceded the youngster wasn’t a player he had initially targeted.
Nonetheless, the Tottenham manager did give the green light for Spurs to sign him.
“Spence is an investment of the club. The club wanted to do it,” talkSPORT quoted Conte as saying.
“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.”
Merson: “He won’t get a game”
But Merson, writing in the Daily Star, felt sorry for Spence following Conte’s comments.
“Antonio Conte admitting that Djed Spence wasn’t his signing is a slap in the face for Tottenham’s latest buy,” he wrote.
“It’s terrible when you know the manager didn’t really want you. I’ve been in that situation myself – but I decided not to go.”
After sharing an anecdote from his playing days, Merson continued: “The manager picks the team.
“Daniel Levy isn’t picking the team at Tottenham. Antonio Conte is.
“And buying him a player he didn’t ask for? That doesn’t work for me.
“I don’t like that one. You’ve got an elite manager there. Why mess it up. Don’t upset an elite manager.
“Djed Spence won’t play will he? He won’t get a game.
“And that’s a shame because he’s a really good player, and to be fair the likes of Emerson Royal haven’t pulled up any trees.”
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