Tottenham Hotspur are finalising the appointment of former Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici as they wait to find out whether or not Antonio Conte will agree to succeed Jose Mourinho.
Paractici will arrive regardless of whether or not Conte accepts Tottenham’s offer, although the club would prefer to reunite the pair in London.
Following two days of intensive talks, Conte was on Friday deliberating over whether or not Tottenham can match his own ambition.
Spurs had been optimistic that they were closing in on an agreement, but on Friday Conte was said to be unsure of whether or not to make an immediate return to management after leaving Inter Milan or wait for a different opportunity.
Conte accepts that he would not be able to immediately challenge for the Premier League title with Tottenham, but his long-term aim would be to make the club contenders again.
That would require some major surgery of the squad and it is believed Conte was concerned that Tottenham’s long-term ambitions may not match his own.
Speaking in an interview with DAZN which was trailed on Friday, Conte confirmed his ambition to once again manage outside Italy but reiterated his desire to remain competitive.
“I would like to have more experiences abroad,” said Conte. “I think that I am not someone who is happy with just a comfortable situation. I always chose the most difficult situation instead.
“As a player, I won everything it was possible to win, but I also lost a great deal. When you lose, it leaves within you the desire not to experience that again, so you do everything to transmit that to your players when you are a coach. It all comes from your scars and wanting to avoid getting more.”
Conte would be prepared to prioritise top four with Spurs in the short-term, but could become frustrated if that proves to be the height of the club’s ambitions.
While there is an acceptance on his part that he will not have the funds of Chelsea and Manchester City, Conte does not want to be in a position where he is forced to sell Tottenham’s best players to finance serious moves in the transfer market.
Chairman Daniel Levy is prepared to keep Harry Kane and Conte would prefer not to cash in on the club’s star striker in order to try to rebuild the entire squad.
The salary on offer from Tottenham is not thought to be a problem for Conte, who ranks the club’s stadium and training facilities as the best in the world and the 51-year-old believes he could work well with Levy – as long as their ambitions match.
Levy would preferably like to restrict Conte to bringing four members of his own backroom staff with him, which is the same number Mourinho was permitted.
Paratici’s departure from Juventus was confirmed on Friday and the 48-year-old said: “The Spurs job? I don’t think this is the right time to talk about other clubs today… It’s my Juventus farewell today. My family hopes that I will find a job quickly.”
Telegraph Sport, however, understands that Paractici has verbally agreed to join Tottenham irrespective of what happens with Conte. He is expected to hold a similar position role he held at Juventus, where he was involved in player transfers.
But it is understood he will be part of the existing team behind the scenes, rather than replacing the current structure of Steve Hitchen as technical performance director and Rebecca Caplehorn as director of football operations. Paratici will be seen as a coup for Spurs after more than a decade at Juventus, where they won nine titles in a row and got value in the transfer market particularly from free agents.
Missing out on Conte, however, would be a huge blow to Levy after his failed attempts to attract Julian Nagelsmann, Brendan Rodgers, Erik ten Hag and Paris Saint-Germain’s tough stance over Mauricio Pochettino.
Who is Fabio Paratici?
by Mike McGrath
What is his footballing background?
Despite being the man behind Juventus’ success in the last decade, Paratici never played at the highest level. He played for several Italian clubs in Serie B and C before retiring from playing at 31 and using his qualification as a sporting director. Juventus described him as always having an interest in “selection and management” of players during his career and got his first post-playing job at Sampdoria as scouting manager in 2004,
What did he achieve at Juventus?
He joined the Old Lady in 2010 as technical area coordinator, then was appointed as sports director the following year. The impact was immediate, with Juve winning reclaiming the Serie A title and winning nine in a row until this season when they finished fourth. He is credited with changing their scouting system, their youth system, creating the Juventus Women team and the club’s Under-23s team. He held the title chief football officer from 2018 and managing director from 2020.
Who were his best signings?
Getting Cristiano Ronaldo to leave Real Madrid looked impossible but Juventus managed it on Paratici’s watch in a deal starting at €100million. Juventus have been known as masters of the free transfer during Paratici’s time at the club. Paul Pogba, Andrea Pirlo, Lucio, Adrien Rabiot, Sami Khedira and Aaron Ramsey were all signed as free agents.
What was his legacy?
Paratici departs shortly after Juve were involved in the breakaway European Super League but the club president, Andrea Agnelli, has been quick to highlight the work of his sporting director in the last decade.
“Fabio has written the history of Juventus over the past few years,” Agnelli said. “A growth path characterised by professionalism, perseverance and many successes. 19 trophies in 11 years are the best testimony of his work, which is fully part of the long tradition of our club. Today is the time to thank him for being able to create a strong professional bond, accompanied by a daily passion.”