Antonio Conte has hinted that the length of his contract at Tottenham is irrelevant to how long he will stay as he dismissed ties with Juventus as ‘disrespectful’ and tried to focus on Saturday’s derby at Arsenal.
The manager was touted by Italian media to return to Juventus at the end of the season and history rumbled throughout much of the international break. Conte’s old club has struggled under Max Allegri this season, winning two out of nine games.
It wasn’t just Allegri’s difficulties that drove the narrative, but also Conte’s situation – his contract runs until the end of the season and Spurs have the option to extend it for another year.
Conte joined last November and has repeatedly urged them to match his ambitions, mostly in terms of transfer activity, leading to fears he would quit if they didn’t.
Conte certainly sees the benefit of being able to capitalize on his position, perhaps bolstered by a short contract, and he wasn’t sure when he could talk about an extension. What he wanted to emphasize was how much he enjoyed working at Spurs – with chairman Daniel Levy and chief executive Fabio Paratici. And the biggest factor for him is and remains the general direction of travel.
“There is no contract, there is no option… if the club and the manager want to work together, they will continue to work together. If they don’t want to work together, they break up,” Conte said.
“The most important thing for me is that I really enjoy working with Tottenham, especially with these players, and the relationship with Daniel and Fabio is good. I’m fine and I think the club is happy with this situation.
“Now the most important thing for Tottenham now and Tottenham’s future is to get the best possible result [against Arsenal].”
Conte has been talked about his plans to extend his contract. Would the break in the Premier League season be a good opportunity for the World Cup? “There is no right time,” he said. “It could be tomorrow. It could be the last day of the Premier League season. The most important thing for me and the club is to understand that we want to continue together, we want to go in the same direction. Otherwise I see no problem.
“I’ve said in the past that I don’t need another contract to be sure of staying at a club. It’s also a good investment for the club to have a coach like me and my staff. At the right time I will make the best decision. At this moment I’m really happy.
“I don’t want to push the club about the situation because it’s not the right time. We have just started the season and we still have a long time to live and understand together, to continue working together.”
Conte was furious with the Juventus connections in Italy. “It’s disrespectful to the coach who works at Juventus and also disrespectful to my work at Tottenham,” he said. “We have the whole season to find the best solution for the club, for me. We signed a contract because we both agreed to sign that contract and I don’t see any problems. I don’t want people to talk about it in the future.”
Spurs would go on top if they win in the league at the Emirates for the first time since 2010. Arsenal are without Emile Smith Rowe who has had surgery on a long-term groin injury. The club hope the forward will return to full training in December.
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