Jamie Carragher has suggested Antonio Conte will need “much longer than 18 months” to return Tottenham to the levels they reached under Mauricio Pochettino.
Conte was appointed on a deal until the summer of 2023 earlier this week and took charge of his first game on Thursday, a 3-2 home win over Vitesse in the Europa Conference League.
The Italian’s arrival has sparked talk of a possible title challenge next season – but Spurs clearly have some way to go before they are ready to compete for major honours.
And Carragher has raised the concern that Conte will need longer than the length of his current contract to transform Tottenham into possible Premier League winner.
“Rather than demand lavish spending, the start of Conte reigns have often been typified by more prudent means of improving his side,” Carragher wrote in his column for The Telegraph. “He never paid more than £16 million on a player while Juventus coach, but still won three successive Serie A titles, ending a relatively barren spell for the Turin club. At Inter, he got more from Romelu Lukaku than Manchester United, credited by the Belgian striker for making him a more complete centre-forward.
“Such eyes for bargains, and knack of reviving the careers of those who have lost their way, is exactly what Spurs need, but that means he will need much longer than 18 months to get the club back to the level they were under Pochettino. It is delusional to think otherwise.”
The former England defender went on to say that Conte will not accept being inferior to the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and the Manchester clubs for long.
He wrote: “Conte will not tolerate that for long. He will seek to radically change the mentality at the club, initially working out if he can do so with the players he has inherited or by gradually reconfiguring the squad. Everything we have seen for the last three years says it must be the latter.”
Carragher makes some good points. Spurs will need to invest cleverly over the next couple of years of risk Conte becoming impatient. Still, it seems there could be exciting times ahead for the Londoners.