Antonio Conte looks on course to be confirmed as the next manager of Tottenham Hotspur.
With Mauricio Pochettino heavily tipped to make a sensational homecoming after 18 months away, Spurs’ search for a successor appears to be coming to a conclusion with the Italian set to make a swift return to the game after leaving Inter Milan last week.
Amid links with the likes of Julian Nagelsmann, Brendan Rodgers and Erik ten Hag immediately after Jose Mourinho’s departure in April, Conte’s exit from the San Siro opened the door for him to make a return to the capital after his previous spell as Chelsea boss.
Winning silverware on a regular basis at Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan, the likely arrival of the 51-year-old could work wonders for Spurs as they look to end their long wait to win a major prize.
One thing the experienced boss will need to do upon his arrival in north London is fix the team’s issues at the back that have plagued them over the past two seasons.
If indeed he manages to do that then it could be a recipe for success due to the attacking players already at the club.
So what changes could we potentially see at the back? football.london takes a look.
The Italian changed things up a few weeks into his Chelsea tenure as he switched to a back three for the second half of their 3-0 defeat against Arsenal.
Sticking with the setup after that, the Blues went on a stunning run of 13 successive league wins to put them on course for the title before Dele Alli’s double brought their run to an end at White Hart Lane.
Doing likewise during his two-year spell at Inter Milan, Conte will be expected to do exactly the same at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Spurs have lined up that way at the back on a few occasions in the past under Pochettino and Mourinho, although the side have mainly operated with a back four in recent years.
The players to benefit
Switching to a back three could well benefit a couple of the current Tottenham squad.
The manager wasn’t afraid to give Andreas Christensen his chance at Chelsea during the 2017/18 season following two years on loan at Borussia Monchengladbach and he thrived in his backline.
Rodon was very unlucky to fall out of favour after Ryan Mason’s appointment as interim head coach and Conte may well see something in him he likes as he is a talented player who can play a big role in Tottenham’s defence for years to come.
One thing Conte did at Chelsea after switching to a back three was play Cesar Azpilicueta centrally rather than as a full-back.
The Spaniard really impressed in his new role and became such an integral part of his defence.
Ben Davies is no stranger to playing as a centre-back having done so for Wales numerous times and that’s where his future may lie under the Italian.
A solid full-back but someone who doesn’t have the attacking qualities of Sergio Reguilon, Conte may feel he is more suited to the left-sided centre-back berth as the Spaniard will be a better option at wing-back as he is a more attack-minded player.
Spurs just don’t have a left-sided centre-back so switching Davies’ position would give the team more balance there.
Could Lucas Moura also be handed a shock new role?
Well, that may all depend on whether the head coach opts for three players in midfield, as he did do at Inter Milan, or he goes with two midfielders and then a three-man attack.
If it is the three-man midfield then Lucas may be reinvented as a wing-back as he can both attack and defend.
Victor Moses moved back slightly from his role on the wing at Chelsea and became such a key part of Conte’s Chelsea team with some outstanding displays as a right wing-back.
Lucas is someone Conte can rely on and his attacking play, speed and defensive qualities could well see him be a big success under the head coach.
Conte will have plenty of options to choose from in terms of his wing-backs at Tottenham if he takes on the hotseat.
Matt Doherty was a huge success for Wolves when playing as a right wing-back but he struggled to replicate his form at Spurs this season having operated as a right-back when given pitch time.
A slight change to his game really could bring out the best of him.
On the opposite flank, while Spurs fans know all about what Reguilon can do from the left side, a change in setup could work in Ryan Sessegnon’s favour.
A versatile player who can play in a number of roles, the England U21 international was a regular during his season on loan with Hoffenheim and he will return to N17 a much better player for his experience.
Given Davies may be more suited to a centre-back role in Conte’s system, Sessegnon may have the chance to get his Tottenham career up and running under the ex-Juventus boss.
Centre-back is a priority position for Tottenham this summer given their big problems there in the last two seasons.
football.london understands that Spurs would ideally like to bring in two new defenders this summer but they will need to move a couple on if that is to be the case.
Mauricio Pochettino is in talks for a sensational return to Spurs.
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Joachim Andersen, who spent the season on loan at Fulham, is someone Spurs are keen on but a deal will need to be agreed with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas if they are to land him.
Conte will have his own ideas over who he could bring in if he takes over, with Milan Skriniar potentially someone Spurs could look at signing after missing out on him last summer when they couldn’t agree on a fee with Inter Milan for his services.
The potential appointment of Conte, as well as the Nerazzurri’s financial situation, could really help Tottenham out if they revisit the possibility of signing the Slovakian defender.