Due to the pulsating drama that saw Liverpool and Manchester City take the Premier League title by the slimmest of margins last season, it was perhaps overlooked just how strongly Tottenham Hotspur finished the season. Indeed, since the arrival of Antonio Conte as the new manager towards the end of 2021, Spurs have looked like a team reborn. Yes, there were some bad results and a sense of experimentation as Conte tried to develop the team in his own image after the Nuno Espirito Santo era, but Spurs soon became a force again. Only City and Liverpool took more points than Spurs in the last 12 games of the season, one of the big reasons why Spurs surprised everyone by taking the final Champions League spot.
This summer has seen a frenzy of transfer activity at Tottenham. At the time of writing, the North London club has the biggest transfer outlay in the Premier League. Six signings have arrived so far, with Richarlison, Ivan Perisic and Yves Bissouma among the highlights. If you look at social media, many seem to be in agreement that Conte is building a squad with enough depth to compete in both the Premier League and Champions League.
Spurs are considered third favourites
If we look at the betting, sportsbooks aren’t wholly convinced Spurs are there just yet. While they are third favourites for the 2022/23 Premier League title with several bookmakers, the gap between the top two (City and Liverpool) and the rest still seems a significant one. Yet, there is a sense that Conte is being backed financially by the Tottenham board to develop his own squad, comprised of players he sees as capable of challenging for top honours.
Pragmatists would claim that Spurs still have a long way to go. A front three of Harry Kane, Heung-Ming Son and Richarlison has claims of being the best attack in the Premier League, but there are worries about the quality in midfield and defence. Moreover, while Spurs might add to the squad before the Transfer Window shuts, there is also a sense that too many new recruits can be a recipe for disaster. Arguably, Conte needs a couple more Transfer Windows to build a team capable of winning titles.
Conte has a specific blueprint for success
Still, you can understand why the majority of Spurs fans seem pleased. Conte is a proven winner, having taken the Premier League title at Chelsea and win Serie A championships with both Juventus and Internazionale. He is an astute tactician, who, like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, has very specific concepts of what sort of player should be in a football team. Just as Spurs have recruited heavily, you can also expect to see a lot of players leave as Conte strives to build ‘his’ team.
At a minimum, Tottenham fans will expect another Top 4 finish. Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United will also be hoping to join Liverpool and City in there, so it’s not going to be easy. But the fact that Spurs conducted the majority of transfer business early in the summer bodes well for getting the team settled and bedding in new recruits. Getting into the Champions League once again will offer a platform for more building. And then it’s a case of Spurs fans sitting back and seeing what one of the world’s most talented coaches can do with his team.