Tottenham haven’t won the English title since 1961 and aside from running Leicester City close in 2015-16, they’ve rarely shown any sign of winning it again in the 61 years since their last success.
Nobody tips Spurs to win the title because they simply don’t have the pedigree to suggest they can pull it off, but in Antonio Conte, they now have a coach who will demand every ounce of effort from his players and bosses in the boardroom to go as close as possible.
Obviously, having Conte on the touchline isn’t enough to transform Spurs from being perennial under-achievers to potential champions, but it at least gives them a chance.
Under Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs had the potential to win, but lacked the experience to do so. And by the time Jose Mourinho took charge, the former Chelsea and Manchester United coach had lost the winning touch that defined his earlier career. But Conte has the winning experience that Pochettino lacked and, unlike Mourinho, he can still point to recent success — he guided Inter Milan to last season’s Serie A title — as proof of being relevant in the modern game.
If Conte can persuade Kane to abandon thoughts of leaving the club and recruit quality players to support the England captain, Spurs could have a title challenge in them next season. They clearly need to improve quality in defence and in midfield, but up front, Kane and Son Heung-Min are proven goal scorers against the very best opposition.
Smart recruitment and Conte’s ability to make his players better by demanding more of them — as well as the Italian’s tactical prowess — will make Spurs better than they have been. Whether they can bridge the gap between falling short and challenging for the title is another matter, but if all the pieces fall into place, Spurs could at least be more competitive next season.
Chances of catching City (1=not likely, 10=guaranteed): 3 — Antonio Conte wants to be given the chance to rebuild and re-energise Tottenham. If he keeps Harry Kane, it will help, but Spurs won’t be winning the title next season