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Tottenham end interest in Conte as search for manager continues

Tottenham have ended their interest in Antonio Conte, as the club’s search for a new manager continues to flounder.

Spurs have been locked in talks with the out-of-work former Inter Milan and Chelsea coach over their vacant manager’s position, but decided against making him an offer.

Spurs were concerned over some of Conte’s demands, including a perceived reluctance to work with young players.

Reports in Italy have suggested Conte had his own reservations over Tottenham’s ability to challenge for top trophies immediately, and was frustrated by the club refusing to allow him more than four members of coaching staff.

Sources at Spurs insist the Italian’s demands proved unrealistic during talks and he was ultimately deemed a poor fit for the club.

Spurs are pushing ahead with plans to appoint Fabio Paratici – who worked with Conte at Juventus – as director of football, but the breakdown in talks with the former Chelsea coach is the latest blow in their search for a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho, who was sacked on April 19.

Spurs could now make a final attempt to prize former manager Mauricio Pochettino back to the club from Paris Saint-Germain, or turn to Ajax’s Erik ten Hag.

Tottenham’s first choice to replace Mourinho, Julian Nagelsmann, agreed to join Bayern Munich last month, while his predecessor as the Allianz Arena, Hansi Flick, held talks with the London club but is set to take charge of the German national team after Euro 2020.

Another Spurs target, Brendan Rodgers, has indicated he wants to stay at Leicester City.

Conte left Inter Milan by mutual consent last month after guiding them to a first title since 2010 over concerns at the club’s plans to sell roughly €80million (£68.7m) worth of players to balance the books.

The 51-year-old, who has won five league titles in the past seven seasons, wanted transfer funds to build on the historic success and would have demanded assurances from Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that they can immediately return to challenging at the top of the Premier League.

It is unclear if Spurs are in a position to spend big this summer, however, with the club continuing to pay off their £1.2billion new stadium and reeling from the financial impact of the pandemic.

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Levy’s has publicly said he wants the new manager to be committed to “free-flowing, attacking and entertaining [football] whilst continuing to embrace our desire to see young players flourish” – a description which seem ill-fitting for Conte.

Some of the young players at Spurs were concerned over whether Conte would be good for their development, although a number of senior members of the squad were excited to work with him.

Ryan Mason was Tottenham’s interim head-coach for the final seven matches of the season.

They have also expressed an interest in Brighton’s Graham Potter and Ralf Rangnick, the former RB Leipzig boss.

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