Antonio Conte held off on the Tottenham job until the last minute because of his interest in the Manchester United role, according to a report.
The Italian has moved back to the Premier League following his exit from Chelsea in 2018. While he only spent two years with the Blues, he guided them to Premier League and FA Cup glory.
Now, he faces the task of sealing silverware for Spurs. They were Champions League finalists in 2019 under Mauricio Pochettino but look a long way off such form this season.
Conte’s arrival at Tottenham comes after they failed to convince him to take the job in the summer. He has since explained that, back then, he had only just finished at Inter and wanted more time off.
But despite him now taking the job after Nuno Espirito Santo’s sacking, he did so after strong links with the United role. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has faced – and still faces – significant pressure.
Nevertheless, one journalist has revealed how Conte held off on moving to Tottenham as he felt the United squad looks closer to being able to compete for silverware.
“I understand that there was a wait until the last moment; Manchester United have a better squad and more decisive players,” Roberto Gotta told Tuttomercatoweb.
“However, Manchester United have never publicly lacked confidence in Solskjaer. Perhaps even to reassure him…
“Conte in Manchester should have won immediately, while in Tottenham, he should have prepared the team for next season.
“I think he did the right thing, or else he risked not doing half of it.”
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Tottenham have suffered a downturn since Pochettino’s exit, Jose Mourinho and Nuno both getting the sack since. While they did reach the Carabao Cup final last season, interim boss Ryan Mason was in charge.
United also recently lost a final – in the Europa League. This season, Cristiano Ronaldo has helped them in the Champions League but they are out of the Carabao Cup and face a battle to mount a Premier League title challenge.
Conte talks Tottenham transfers
Speaking in his first press conference as Spurs boss, attention turned to the January transfer window for Conte.
Tottenham have been linked with a host of names, such as midfield duo Franck Kessie and Marcelo Brozovic.
However, Conte said: “Now to tell that we have a specific target is not simple. I think the club is the same. [Fabio] Paratici knows very well this is the situation.
“I think at the moment it’s not good or not fair to say we want to do this or reach this.
“At the moment we’ve only to be strong, to start to work together and think that we need to improve.”
Tottenham face Everton on Sunday in Conte’s first Premier League game in charge.