Jonathan Woodgate Exclusive: Conte Needs Summer Signings
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Jonathan Woodgate Exclusive: Conte Needs Summer Signings

Former Tottenham defender Jonathan Woodgate claims his old club must back Antonio Conte in the transfer market next summer, as they won’t find a better manager. Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo in November and performances have been mixed under the Italian, with Spurs currently sitting eighth in the Premier League. The former Inter Milan, Juventus and Chelsea boss has called for his squad to be improved – and Woodgate feels the North Londoners’ current crop of players need to prove their worth to the 52-year-old coach.


Summer Signings Needed

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “[Conte] will need some help from signings in the summer. 

“I know he’s only got an 18-month contract, but I’m sure that’ll get renewed at some point because Spurs aren’t going to get a better manager than Antonio Conte. That is for starters.

“Is [Conte questioning the quality of the squad] a message for the players? Or is it a message to the board? 

“He’s very clever in his press conferences. After the Burnley defeat, he was very clever in what he said. 

“And sometimes, it depends on what type of player you are, do you take that criticism onboard? Or do you go the other way? 

“For me, I’d take it onboard and I’d try and prove him wrong. I’m sure that’s the type of reaction he wants. 

“I do think Tottenham need more backing, especially going into next season. They’ll need to spend a lot of money to try and get into the Champions League next year. 

“It’s not going to be easy for them to get into the Champions League now. For me, they’ve been too inconsistent to get there. If they get there, Conte has done an incredible job.”

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Kulusevski and Bentancur Good Examples

Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur arrived from Juventus in the January transfer window – and Woodgate believes the pair are the sort of player Tottenham should look to recruit going forward.

“I watched Bentancur when he was at Boca Juniors, and I watched him quite a few times at Juventus,” he explained. 

“I’ve always liked him. I think he gives them something else in the centre of the pitch. [Pierre-Emile] Hojbjerg, [Harry] Winks, and maybe [Oliver] Skipp, they’re a bit too similar. 

“When Bentancur comes in, he’s more progressive with the ball. He gets on it, plays forward, passes. He looks stronger in that position. 

“Kulusevski, I didn’t know a lot about him when he first came. But he’s got a floating role on the right-hand side and has done well. 

“He’s a strong runner with the ball. He can see a pass, assists well, so he has been a good signing. 

“That’s what I mean about Spurs, they have to be creative and sign these types of players to really progress.”

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Romero And Reguilon Praise

Woodgate also praised two of Spurs’ current crop – Cristian Romero and Sergio Reguilon.

“I like [Romero],” he continued. “I know he’s still only young, 23 years old, Argentinian international. 

“I like when he tries to defend on the front foot. He’s aggressive, he wants to try and win the ball when he goes up to the striker – and that’s what I like my defence to do. 

“I don’t like defenders who sit off, I want them to be aggressive. That’s what I like about him. 

“He’s only going to get better with a manager of Conte’s standards. A manager who’s worked with [Leonardo] Bonucci, [Giorgio] Chiellini, these are top players we’re talking about, and I’m sure he’s going to learn even more from Conte. I do like him.

“I like Reguilon [too]. I liked him when he was on loan to Sevilla. I think he’s a really good player. 

“I think next season, that is the position, left and right wing-backs, they’ll look to bring people in. I think a few of the wing-backs will be getting shipped out, I really do. 

“It’s a massive position for Antonio Conte, it’s a massive position for how he wants to play his football. 

“We know that he tried to sign [Adama] Traore for the right wing-back role in January, so he can’t be that confident in what he has, but to be fair, [Matt] Doherty has done well recently. 

“Hats off to him. He’s battled and he’s done well. I remember when he was at Wolves, he got a lot of assists in the Championship. 

“At the minute, he’s got the bit between his teeth and is doing well. But long-term I think Conte will be looking for something maybe a bit different.”






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V: 1.38.0 All rights reserved. August 2021