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Antonio Conte preparing brutal squad clearance at Spurs

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Thanks to getting Tottenham Hotspur back into the Champions League this season, Antonio Conte appears to have been granted the liberty to make wholesale squad changes. The club has already sold three players and brought in six key reinforcements, although there could be further sweeping changes before the transfer window closes in September.

Antonio Conte hits back at Paul Merson's claims that Tottenham Hotspur is a one-man team.
Antonio Conte hits back at Paul Merson’s claims that Tottenham Hotspur is a one-man team. (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

According to a detailed look at Spurs activity by The Athletic, several of their journalists have focused on various players who could leave, allowing Conte to trim the squad to a more easily manageable number. As they have highlighted, the typical mode of operating at the club is to bring in the new players first, then evaluate those considered to be surplus to requirements.

This is the second phase of transfer activity which is now underway, aimed at reducing the bloated squad and with nine players potentially on the way out. Fortunately, it also seems there is plenty of interest for the lengthy cast of unwanted stars, which means that Spurs may have little difficulty moving them on, depending on their willingness to haggle over fees.

Selling several players may also keep Tottenham in the market for additional reinforcements, ahead of a 2022-23 campaign which sees the club tipped for another top four Premier League finish. Backing that outcome seems logical, yet it always makes good sense to , reading plenty of reviews in order to guarantee the best odds and offers available. That’s not so different from Spurs, who will be looking to offload players for the maximum they can get.

Due to being left behind for the tour of South Korea, there are four players who the club would like to sell, regarded as being firmly in the unwanted camp. They are Giovani Lo Celso, Tanguy Ndombele, Harry Winks and Sergio Reguilon. However, it seems very unlikely the club will recoup their original investment on each player, apparently willing to cut their losses to get them off the wage bill. 

Following an initial year on loan from Real Betis costing around €16 million, Lo Celso completed his permanent move to Spurs for a further €32 million in July 2020. Unfortunately, the Argentine midfielder never managed to impress in the Premier League, leading him back to LaLiga with Villarreal on loan for the second half of last season. Villarreal are interested in a permanent deal, as are Italian side Fiorentina, which could recover around €20 million.

Spurs made a big outlay to land Ndombele from Lyon in July 2019, spending €60 million amidst high hopes for the Frenchman, albeit without him matching up to expectations. Loaned back to Lyon for the back end of last season, he now seems unwanted by Conte and ready for the exit door. Tottenham will be lucky to recoup even half their original spend. Galatasaray and Marseille have shown some interest.

Despite being a product of the Tottenham Hotspur academy system, and going on to make 10 appearances for England, it’s fair to say that Harry Winks has not quite managed to progress as initially hoped. This apparent stagnation has inevitably pushed him down the pecking order for Conte, implying the 26-year-old will need to move elsewhere to reboot his career. Leeds United enquired and took their interest no further, while Everton could return with a firm bid before the window closes.

Insofar as the Spanish contingent is concerned, Sergio Reguilon appears to be a priority target for Sevilla. They have remained enamoured by the player since his loan in 2019-20 from Real Madrid. After two seasons in England, it seems the 25-year-old is keen on a return to his home country. However, Sevilla will inevitably drive a hard bargain, unlikely to match the €30 million Spurs originally paid in September 2019.

The signing of Bryan Gil raised plenty of eyebrows upon his arrival, mainly because many doubted his precocious talents might not be suited to English football. Having made just 9 appearances in the Premier League, he returned to Spain with Valencia on loan.

They appear keen to take the 21-year-old back on loan for an entire season. Conte will also be willing to let other fringe players depart, should it seem appropriate to his plans.

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