Tottenham Hotspur’s motto is ‘to dare is to do’ and for Antonio Conte he’d certainly like that to be applied to their mentality in the transfer window this month.
Conte was appointed Spurs manager in November and the forthright Italian has been outspoken in believing the squad needs improving during the January window.
As detailed by Sportsmail, he met with members of the board’s hierarchy on Monday and spelled out in no uncertain terms what he believes the club needs during this month’s transfer window.
Antonio Conte is keen to improve his Tottenham squad during the January transfer window
Tottenham will prioritise a new right wing-back, with Wolves’ Adama Traore their first choice, plus two attackers – one of whom will be a striker to supplement Harry Kane.
On his talks with Daniel Levy and Fabio Paratici, Conte said: ‘It was a good meeting. With Paratici I have the possibility to speak every day, but to have the possibility to speak with our owner was important. Also because I like to have this type of relationship, to be honest and to always tell the truth.
‘I don’t like to tell a good lie to keep a good relationship or to show myself to be too polite. It was good to tell the truth and it was a good meeting.
‘Now the situation is very clear. I was satisfied to have this conversation with the owner and now it’s OK for me.’
But after Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup defeat by Chelsea, the need for fresh faces has only been underlined. Sportsmail assesses the targets that Conte has in mind to bring to north London.
He met with Fabio Paratici (left) and Daniel Levy to give his thoughts on the January window
WHO COULD ARRIVE?
Of all of Tottenham’s possible arrivals the acquisition of Traore looks the most likely.
As detailed by Sportsmail throughout this month, Spurs are pushing to complete a £20million deal for the pacy Wolves winger.
Conte is prioritising a new right-wing back this month and believes Traore can fill the position, while the attacker can also obviously fill one of the two wide attacking roles in Tottenham’s 3-4-3 system.
Wolves are receptive to letting the Spain international this window, mindful that he’ll be entering the final year of his contract next season.
Sportsmail sources have indicated the possibility of Traore joining Spurs this month are ‘strong’.
Traore’s unmatched ability to dribble at searing pace would provide Conte with a new attacking dimension and would drag more defenders away from dynamic duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
Adama Traore (right) is Conte’s top transfer target this month and is valued at £20m by Spurs
The Fiorentina striker is arguably the most-sought after player during this January transfer window.
The 21-year-old has a plethora of suitors including Arsenal, Manchester United and Juventus – with Tottenham thrown into this equation too.
Spurs are looking to sign a new striker to provide competition for Kane and Vlahovic fits that profile.
The Serbian international is Serie A’s top goalscorer this season and has netted an impressive 23 goals in 28 appearances for club and country.
An arrival at Tottenham would give Conte added firepower for a side who have scored just 23 goals in 18 Premier League matches this season.
However, Levy is a prudent negotiator and the overall package to sign Vlahovic may prove unviable.
Fiorentina are likely to demand upwards of £58m for the forward, while Vlahovic will command £160,000-per-week after tax in wages over a five year contract – which equates to just over £300,000-per-week.
Sportsmail understands that clubs interested in Vlahovic have also been informed that the deal will also include £15million in fees to the player’s camp.
Dusan Vlahovic has netted an impressive 23 goals in 28 games for club and country this term
Central midfield is a problem position for Tottenham and Conte is looking at AC Milan’s Franck Kessie as a potential problem solver.
The 25-year-old is an integral part of the Italian giants’ starting XI but they risk losing him for nothing in the summer as his contract expires then.
Kessie is currently away with the Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations and Milan would reportedly rather keep him until the end of the season, rather than cash on him this window.
Kessie has scored 35 goals and has provided 16 assists in 205 appearances for Milan and has developed into a key figure in Stefano Pioli’s team, who currently trail city rivals Inter Milan by one points at the top of Serie A – although they have played a game more.
Kessie has scored 14 league goals in 2021, the most of any Milan midfielder in a calendar year since Kaka netted 15 in 2008.
Franck Kessie could add goals from midfield and has just months left on his AC Milan contract
Like Kessie, Jesse Lingard is a midfielder who could provide a goalscoring bonus to north London.
Like Kessie too, the Manchester United man will be a free agent this summer.
Reports surfaced on Tuesday that Spurs have sounded out Lingard over a move this month – with his versatility said to appeal to Tottenham, who are also looking to bolster the number of British players that they have on their books.
However, as detailed by Sportsmail, the 29-year-old is leaning towards a move abroad as a free agent.
Jesse Lingard (centre) has reportedly been sounded out about a move to Tottenham this month
WHO COULD DEPART?
The former Wolves man looks set to depart for a current Molineux man in Traore.
Doherty only joined in August 2020 but his time in north London hasn’t gone to plan.
The Republic of Ireland international finds himself behind Emerson Royal for the right wing-back role and has been forced to play at left wing-back at times when Sergio Reguilon has been out injured.
The 29-year-old hasn’t done enough to convince Conte to keep him and Tottenham are willing to use Doherty as a makeweight in incoming deals.
However, as it stands a return to Wolves is not on the cards as any part of a proposed Traore deal.
Matt Doherty’s time at Tottenham looks like coming to an end after just one-and-a-half seasons
The writing is on the wall for Tanguy Ndombele.
The talented France international has often flattered to deceive and as revealed by Sportsmail, Conte is willing to cut ties – either permanently or on loan.
The 58-year-old had originally planned for Ndombele to stay at the club until at least the end of the season, believing the midfielder had the talent and profile to play a role in his plans moving forward.
But Conte had significant reservations about Ndombele’s work-rate but felt he could motivate the Frenchman to contribute more off the ball.
The midfielder, Spurs’ record signing, was heavily booed by his own supporters during Sunday’s 3-1 FA Cup third round win over Morecambe, infuriating fans by slowly walking off the pitch as he was being substituted despite the fact his team were losing 1-0 to the League One team at the time.
Ndombele has two-and-a-half years on his current deal at Tottenham. His £200,000-a-week contract could prove a stumbling block to potential suitors though.
Reports in Italy have suggested that Juventus and AC Milan have been propositioned about potential swap deals involving Weston McKennie and Kessie.
Tanguy Ndombele’s (right) lack of defensive work-rate has seen Conte decide to cut ties
Just a few years ago it seemed that Dele Alli would be the heartbeat of Spurs for a decade. Now he looks set to head for the exit doors.
The midfielder can leave the club this month, but his future is still unclear as Spurs await concrete offers.
The 25-year-old future is to be decided towards the end of the window but he is yet to play 90 minutes under Conte in a telling sign.
Dele Alli is yet to complete 90 minutes under Conte with the No 20 available to leave the club