Recently, the coach was chided by some Spurs fans for admitting that ‘the level is not very high’ in the current playing team. However, the Italian is 100% correct and the presence of several first-team players is seen as a reason for the comment being made. Several names have been linked with an exit from the club, but there are some players who look almost certain to depart.
Having been given precious little gametime under Conte, some of the fringe players will almost certainly leave in January.
Who are expected to leave Spurs and miss out on the Conte regime?
Chief among the players being linked with an exit are those who arrived under or after Jose Mourinho. Full-back Matt Doherty – he of Arsenal supporting shame – looks almost certain to be out of town by the end of the window. Conte has made clear that he does not rate the player, with numerous players filling out of position to cover at right wing-back as opposed to risk playing the Ireland international.
A move in January for Doherty is almost certain. Another signing who arrived at a similar time is Joe Rodon, with the Wales international struggling big time since arriving in the Premier League. He has barely kicked a ball this season, and cannot get a look-in under the Italian. Cup football is about all he could hope for, and it is expected that Conte will focus on the league as opposed to the cups meaning that progress is not expected.
A loan for the defender might be more likely, but it is increasingly clear that Conte would rather make do without than give Rodon any more gametime.
Fringe players such as Harvey White and Jack Clarke could also leave, too. The former has seen a lot of game time with the U23 team but is expected to be moved on having impressed when on loan at Portsmouth in the previous season. At 20, though, the player looks like he could need a chance to start fresh again somewhere else where he can build a career in the first-team.
Clarke was a high potential punt from Leeds, and so far it looks like the player has simply not been worth the outlay. Expect an exit – again, most likely on loan – in January.
For now, then, Conte looks ready to swing the axe as opposed to get the chequebook out. Not one for taking teams over mid-season, it will be interesting to see how crucial Conte feels the first transfer window his era will be.