Spurs players still in the dark about Conte's return

Tottenham players remain in the dark over Antonio Conte ahead of return to training - Reuters/Paul Childs
Tottenham players remain in the dark over Antonio Conte ahead of return to training - Reuters/Paul Childs

Tottenham Hotspur’s players are waiting to find out whether they will face up to Antonio Conte when they return to training on Tuesday. Sources still believe Conte’s Tottenham exit will be agreed despite players and Spurs staff being left in the dark over his future during the past week.

Tottenham are interested in replacing Conte with Julian Nagelsmann, who was sacked by Bayern Munich, although reports in Germany have claimed Bayern would be due compensation if he takes a new job before the end of the season.

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Conte’s assistants, Ryan Mason and Cristian Stellini, took training while the head coach spent the international break in Italy as Tottenham deliberated his fate.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy must now decide whether to allow Conte to restart work when the majority of the club’s international players return on Tuesday.

It has been reported that a number of Tottenham’s players did not expect Conte to prepare the team for the club’s next Premier League game away to Everton after he criticised the squad following the 3-3 draw with Southampton.

Conte accused the Spurs players of being “selfish”, but insisted his complaints were not aimed at Levy or the Tottenham board.

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Should it prove impossible to immediately replace Conte with Nagelsmann, then Levy might have to place Mason in interim charge until the end of the season.

Sacking Conte would cost Levy around £3.75million in compensation. Were he to stay, then the Italian has a clause in his contract that shifts the 12-month extension option on his existing contract to his favour if Tottenham finish in the top four.

While the scenario is incredibly unlikely, Spurs need to be sure Conte could not make a claim against that 12-month option, given his contract is worth £15million a year.

Telegraph Sport disclosed that Nagelsmann had an affinity to Tottenham and is understood to have once owned a club replica shirt. The representatives of the 35-year-old have not commented on links with the Spurs job.