Antonio Conte has said Tottenham’s squad may have been technically weakened in the January window and that the club’s transfer policy will slow the rate at which he can make the team competitive.
The manager was desperate for reinforcements but the club missed out on Adama Traoré and Luis Díaz and brought in only Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus on deadline day.
On the same day Tottenham’s two most expensive players – Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso – left on loan, Dele Alli joined Everton on an initial free transfer and Bryan Gil went to Valencia less than six months after his £25m arrival from Sevilla.
In an interview with Sky Sport Italia, Conte said: “I saw some situations from the outside that could be developed, but when you get into it, you realise something … What happened in January is not easy. Four players left in January. Four important players for Tottenham, two have arrived. So even numerically instead of reinforcing yourself you may have, on paper, weakened.”
Conte said the 21-year-old Kulusevski and 24-year-old Bentancur were perfect signings in the framework of Tottenham’s transfer philosophy but believes the approach will require patience.
“It is inevitable that in January it is very difficult to get two players like Bentancur and Kulusevski to sign who, I repeat, are the ideal prospects for Tottenham,” he said. “Because Tottenham is looking for young players, players to be developed, not ready players. That is the issue.
“The vision, the philosophy of the club is this. It is inevitable that if you want to grow faster and if you want to be competitive more quickly you need players with a lot of experience because they also lead to an increase in experience in your team. But then again, the vision of the club I realised is this and will continue to be this.”