Antonio Conte has met with the Tottenham hierarchy to discuss January transfer plans, but also appreciates he must also focus on coaching and improving the players he already has.
The Spurs boss also appeared to deny speculation that Dutch forward Steven Bergwijn could be about to depart the club.
Speaking at a media conference ahead of Wednesday’s EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea, with Spurs trailing 2-0 after the first leg, Conte confirmed he has met the club’s owners and the managing director Fabio Paratici to talk over plans for the current transfer window.
“It was a good meeting,” the former Inter manager confirmed. “The owner and Paratici they started together at the start of this season and I came in halfway. A good meeting to speak and to tell them my thoughts about the two months I spent in Tottenham.
“But what I want… I spoke with the club and I had my thoughts about the situation and this is the most important thing. Then the club has to decide the best way to go. I don’t have expectations. I am a coach and I know that we have to solve many problems.
“For me, in this moment, the best possible way is to get the best from my players and improve the squad… This is the only way I can go to improve the situation, to improve the squad. Then the club knows very well our situation and it has to take the best decision.”
Conte was also asked about recent stories linking Bergwijn with a move to Ajax, and the Italian responded by seemingly suggesting the player is still a part of his immediate plans.
“Bergwijn, he knows very well what I think about him. I consider him a player that can play all three roles, as a number nine and number 10.
“In my period at Tottenham, he was injured for a long time, but I showed him that when he is in a good physical condition I gave him a chance. He is a Tottenham player and he is very close to coming back.
“After the game with Chelsea he can start a training session. I can count on him. He is a player with different characteristics than Harry [Kane], Son [Heung min] and [Lucas] Moura. He is a player we don’t have in our squad.”
5 – Lucas Moura has scored five goals in 13 appearances under Antonio Conte, after scoring just once in the same number of appearances under Nuno Espirito Santo. Revitalised. #EmiratesFACup
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 9, 2022
Conte also confirmed that centre-back Cristian Romero is close to returning after missing the last two months with a hamstring injury.
Romero became the second-most expensive transfer in Spurs’ history when he signed for a reported £47m from Atalanta in August after Tanguy Ndombele’s £53.8m switch from Lyon in 2019.
“Today, Cristian had a little part of a training session with us,” added Conte. “He’s very close to coming back.
“We’re talking about another important player for us. We lost him for almost two months and I think we faced this situation in the best possible way. Cristian for sure is an important player for us.
“Despite this, the players who played showed to be good and improved. For example, Sanchez is improving a lot. Now, Cristian is very close to coming back and being available.”