Antonio Conte backtracks on Tottenham transfer claim as he rules out Man City title fight | Football | Sport


Antonio Conte has backtracked over claims that Tottenham are only two transfer windows away from challenging for the Premier League title by insisting Spurs do in actual fact require three. The Italian ruled out a title fight with Manchester City this season as he admitted he believes there is “too much distance” between his side and the league’s elite.

Tottenham have enjoyed an impressive start to the new campaign having won three and drawn two of their first five fixtures, having undertaken something of a squad shake-up this summer. The north London club completed eight signings in the window just gone, including the likes of Richarlison, Yves Bissouma and Cristian Romero – the latter seeing his loan deal made permanent.

And while Conte confessed he is pleased with the club’s transfer activity this summer, he believes his side remain significantly adrift of those at the Premier League’s summit. Backtracking on his previous claims that Spurs only needed two more windows to strengthen and emerge as title contenders, Conte now believes it may take three.

“We did what the club could do,” the Italian said ahead of his side’s weekend clash with Fulham. “We did good things but I have to be honest, if I say we have the squad of a top team there is still too much distance and for this reason we need to know we just started this process to improve the squad.

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“We tried in January and in this transfer window. But to be competitive and to fight to be a title contender, and also to get a place in the Champions League you need at least three more transfer windows to improve and try to be at the same level as the other top clubs.”

The revelation contradicted claims made just last week by the Tottenham boss that two windows may be all that is required to see his side assert themselves as genuine Premier League title challengers. Conte previously admitted: “If you compare to last season, we are more complete. But to reach other teams at the top level we need time, patience and transfer markets, at least two transfer markets to reach the same level.”

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Despite signing a plethora of new players this summer, it remains to be seen how many of those will hold down regular starting spots. Romero and Ivan Perisic appear set to frequently appear in Conte’s chosen starting XI, while the likes of Richarlison, Bissouma, Fraser Forster, Djed Spence and Clement Lenglet are likely to entertain squad roles. Destiny Udogie will spend the rest of this season back on loan at Udinese.

After drawing 1-1 with West Ham on Wednesday night, Tottenham find themselves third in the Premier league table, four points adrift of early pacesetter and bitter north London rivals Arsenal, and two behind reigning champions of England, City. Spurs pipped the Gunners to a fourth-placed Premier League finish last term having experienced an impressive resurgence under Conte, who took over when the north London club were languishing down in ninth.

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