Everyone knows what it means even without being able to explain it. When something so preposterously unlucky, hilarious and tragic all at the same time happens to Tottenham Hotspur there is only ever one word appropriate to describe it: Spursy.
And yet, if reports are to be believed, Tottenham may this summer hire a manager that could help them shirk that moniker and take the club back in the right direction.
It was widely reported on Wednesday that Spurs were in advanced talks with Antonio Conte to take over the hot seat, fresh off the back of ending Juventus’ stranglehold on Serie A by guiding Inter to the title.
Providing they don’t ‘Spurs’ it up, Conte would be a fantastic appointment – at least until the same arguments with the hierarchy that follow him to every club occur again and it all ends in tears – that would likely bring short-term success. It would also likely have a huge impact on both Manchester United and Manchester City.
First and foremost, the Italian’s arrival would make an already tasty looking Premier League season even more competitive.
Despite their slip in the Champions League final, City remain a great side and will look to add a clinical striker to their ranks this summer. United are steadily improving under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and will probably get better still if they have a strong transfer window. It’s difficult to see Liverpool being so far off the pace for another season. Chelsea have already won the Champions League without Thomas Tuchel even making a signing and Leicester are bound to be sniffing around the top four again.
Add a serial winner like Conte into that mix, who has won trophies at every club he has managed, then you have a truly fascinating league campaign on your hands.
Conte not only helped Juventus secure their dominance in Italy by winning three trophies during his three years in charge, but he brought it to an end this year in a remarkable season with Inter. The Milan club didn’t look close to winning a Scudetto without him, finishing 21 points behind Juve in the 2018/19 season before he took over.
The distance he has to make up is a tad higher in north London, with Spurs finishing 24 points off City this season, but the club will stand a far greater chance of getting back into the top four if he is in charge.
Spurs hiring Conte would be a seismic appointment for both Manchester clubs for that alone, but it could also impact them in the transfer market with their pursuits for Harry Kane.
The England captain has made it clear he wants to leave Spurs this summer as he is starved of trophies and he has no shortage of suitors. But with three years remaining on his contract, it won’t be as easy as that, especially with the stubborn Daniel Levy at the helm.
Perhaps the hiring of a renowned winner like Conte – a manager still at the height of his powers – may be enough to placate Kane’s wanderlust and get him to commit for at least one more year, with the possibility of finally winning some silverware much more likely.
If that ends up being the case then the news may be received differently on each side of Manchester.
For City it would come as a blow. Following Sergio Aguero’s departure for Barcelona, the Blues are looking to sign a ruthless finisher this summer to give them that missing edge in attack.
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With City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak going on record to say he is ‘confident’ of replacing the club’s record goalscorer this summer, Kane being off the table limits options and may mean the club will instead have to splash out a lot of money to beat the pack to Erling Haaland instead.
Every club knows City want a striker this summer and they’re not going to let their star assets go cheap. One less option for City will only drive the prices elsewhere up further.
For United, however, the news could actually come in handy. With Edinson Cavani’s future being secure for another season, and the 34-year-old showing no signs of slowing down, the need to bring in a new front-man this summer has lessened.
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Yet even if there wasn’t such a desperate need for him, they still may have been forced to get involved in the race for Kane over the fear of seeing him join a Premier League rival.
But if the risk of that was averted with Kane remaining at Tottenham, United would instead be able to focus all of their efforts and budgets on the positions that really need strengthening this summer, namely centre-back, defensive-midfield and the right-wing. Then, when next summer comes around, if Kane still wants to leave they will be better placed to make a move.
If Tottenham manage to appoint Conte then it will change the landscape of the Premier League. All will be impacted, but some more than others.