Antonio Conte: Spurs need to treat final nine games as cup finals
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Tottenham have identified Rennes manager Bruno Genesio as a potential replacement for Antonio Conte if the Italian boss leaves north London at the end of the season, according to reports. Conte only joined Spurs four months ago but has been linked with a shock departure ahead of the new campaign if he fails to steer the club into the Premier League’s top four over the coming months.
Tottenham currently sit fifth in the division, three points adrift of bitter rivals Arsenal with just nine matches left to play. Conte managed to rescue the club’s disastrous start under former boss Nuno Espirito Santo upon his arrival but has endured plenty of low points over the course of his short spell in charge.
He was unable to prevent Spurs from being unceremoniously dumped out of the Europa Conference League at the end of the group stages in a major early blow in December. A number of additional defeats at the hands of Southampton, Burnley and Championship oufit Middlesbrough have since followed to serve as evidence that Conte still has plenty of work to do to restore the club back as one of the Premier League’s very best sides.
Although Conte is tied down to Spurs until the end of next season after penning a one-and-a-half year deal back in November, it seems as though club chiefs have started to explore alternative options in case he decides to walk away from his post in the summer. Genesio has been earmarked as a possible target after impressing over the course of this season in his role at Rennes, according to RMC Sport.
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The French outfit are currently battling with Marseille for a second-placed finish in Ligue 1 and Tottenham, along with Wolves and Everton, have reportedly been paying attention to Genesio’s hard work at Roazhon Park. The 55-year-old, like Conte, is contracted until the summer of 2023 which suggests that he could still be lined up as the Spurs manager’s replacement even if the latter stays on until the end of next season.
Valencia, Real Sociedad and Al-Hilal have also been credited with an interest in appointing Genesio, who took charge of Rennes last year after leaving his role with Chinese Super League outfit Beijing Guoan. However, it remains to be seen whether he will be willing to vacate his current position before the expiry of his deal at Rennes in around 16 months’ time.
Meanwhile, Conte has already been urged to cut his ties with Tottenham by none other than Arsenal icon Paul Merson, who recently insisted that he would have been expecting an easier ride when he initially agreed to replace Nuno in the dugout. “Antonio Conte already looks like he wants to get out of Tottenham, and to be honest, maybe he should,” Merson wrote in his column for the Daily Star last month.
“I’d be shocked if he’s there next season. How can you go and beat Manchester City and then lose to Burnley? He’s not going to sit around at a club where he can’t win things.
“He’s sitting at Spurs, who are a million miles away from winning things, thinking: ‘What’s the point?’. Conte must have thought it would be much easier than this.”
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