Conte calls on Tottenham to 'learn lesson' after Brighton defeat
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Tottenham Hotspur head coach Antonio Conte could replicate the club’s capture of Cristian Romero after receiving encouragement over a potential reunion with Stefan de Vrij this summer. Romero has been one of Conte’s most important stars since his arrival, but the Italian is eyeing further reinforcements.
According to Tuttosport, Tottenham could sign De Vrij on a cut-price fee this summer because of his age and the below-par season he’s currently enduring. Inter Milan would demand just £16.6million (€20m) for the 30-year-old centre-back’s services after falling out of favour under Simeone Inzaghi.
De Vrij, whose current contract expires in 2023, featured in 66 of Conte’s 76 Serie A games in charge of Inter from 2019 to 2021. The Netherlands international was crucial to capturing last season’s Scudetto, and he wouldn’t have been content with the coach’s sudden exit.
His role has been reduced with Inzaghi at the helm, and there is a feeling that all parties are interested in parting ways. His availability could open the door for Conte to form his defence in north London into the shape he wants, also featuring Romero.
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Nuno Espirito Santo sanctioned the initial season-long loan for Romero last season, including the option to permanently sign him from Atalanta for £43m in July. The Argentine has made just 19 Premier League appearances this season due to injury struggles but has showcased his quality and promise when fully fit.
Conte is expected to campaign to keep Romero beyond the summer, and recruiting De Vrij would only bolster the options for his traditional back three. He will want financial backing from Daniel Levy in his first summer in charge and is likely to work closely with Fabio Paratici on targets.
Conte and Paratici could focus their business in Italy, and Tottenham’s January dealings would back that claim. Both of the former’s signings at the club so far – Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski – came from the pair’s former club Juventus.
Whilst Conte would likely want to use more than just his and Paratici’s links in Italy for recruitment, De Vrij looks like a serious possibility given the overwhelming circumstances pointing towards his Inter departure. The Dutchman will hope Champions League football is on offer next season, with Conte and Co. still battling for fourth in the Premier League.
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