Antonio Conte ‘targeting Manchester United defender Eric Bailly as first Tottenham signing’ as the Italian looks to prioritise defensive recruitments to turn Spurs into top-four contenders
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte is reportedly looking to make Eric Bailly his first signing since joining the club.
The Italian manager well and truly knows the task at hand at Spurs following their embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Slovenian minnows NS Mura – the lowest ranked side in the Europa Conference League.
Conte wants significant investment to ensure the side can qualify for next season’s Champions League and upgrades in defence are seen as a priority.
Antonio Conte is reportedly interested in signing Eric Bailly during the January window
Conte wants defensive recruitments as he sets his sights on getting Tottenham back up the table
Now it has been reported on the Transfer Window Podcast, as per the Metro, that Ivory Coast centre-back Bailly could be a player Tottenham could look to target in the January transfer window.
It’s said that upgrading Spurs’ current options in central defence is viewed as a priority by Conte
Bailly is out-of-favour at Manchester United, despite the Red Devils leaking goals for fun in recent humiliating defeats to Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester City and Watford.
The 27-year-old has become frustrated with his situation at Old Trafford and it was reported that he ‘openly challenged’ former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for choosing Harry Maguire ahead of him – despite the United captain’s lack of fitness.
Bailly is out-of-favour at United making just one Premier League appearance this season
He questioned former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the Norwegian’s decision to play an unfit Harry Maguire ahead of him
Since joining from Villarreal for £30m in 2016, Bailly has made 109 appearances for the club, though he has been plagued with injuries.
This season though he has mostly been an unused substitute, making just three appearances in all competitions.
His only Premier League start came in the 2-0 defeat in the Manchester derby, where he was replaced at half-time.
Conte has not been in the Tottenham job for long, replacing Nuno Espirito Santo earlier this month.
Tottenham have already made one signing in the centre-back position ahead of this season, with the arrival of Cristian Romero from Atalanta.
Spurs have had a poor start to the season, losing five of their opening 12 games and are seventh in the league.
After the defeat to NS Mura on Thursday, Conte said: ‘I must be honest and tell you that after three-and-a-half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation. I can tell you that the situation is not simple.
Tottenham suffered an embarrassing defeat to Slovenian minnows NS Mura on Thursday
Conte knows the huge task at hand at Tottenham who have had a poor start to the season
‘It is not simple because in this moment for sure the level of Tottenham is not so high.
‘There is an important gap to the top teams in England. Of this we must not be scared. I am here to work, here to improve the situation.
‘I know that in this moment we need to have patience, time and I am here because I know there are problems to solve.
‘After three-and-a-half weeks, I am happy to stay here but at the same time I must be honest and tell you we need to work a lot to improve the quality of the (current) squad. We are Tottenham and Tottenham in this moment, there is an important gap.
‘If someone thinks that a new coach arrives and Conte won in the past and then I am a magician. But the only magic I can do is to work. To bring work and work to improve, to bring my methods, my ideas of football. But we have to understand that we need time.
‘I want to be honest that we need to work a lot to improve the situation. We need time and patience. I don’t know what happens in the future but I am here because I am happy to stay here, to work for Tottenham.’