So much can change in the space of eight months, just ask Tottenham Hotspur fans.
Life was bleak at Spurs last October. Harry Kane was out and manager Nuno Espirito Santo was set to be sacked after a 3-0 home loss to Manchester United.
The former Wolves manager never felt like the right fit but to their credit, Spurs acted quickly and redeemed themselves with the appointment of serial winner Antonio Conte.
Fast forward and things are looking rosy again in North London.
Spurs are gearing up for a Champions League return, Harry Kane has his mojo back and most importantly the club have another season under Conte’s watch.
But what comes next for Spurs will ultimately be their biggest test.
Can the club provide Conte with the ammunition needed to smash his hoodoo trophy and compete with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City?
“When you have a manager of Conte’s stature, you have to start supporting him,” former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlor told talkSPORT.
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“You’d be crazy not to because he’d walk away. If he doesn’t have the money to spend, why should he stay at the club?”
Parlor continued: “Conte now has a real opportunity to take a stand and say ‘come back to me and we can take this club forward’.
“Now it’s about winning trophies for Spurs and if you don’t win a trophy under Conte you have no chance of winning a trophy so I think this is an absolutely brilliant opportunity for Spurs to say okay, let’s go and win trophies, buy good players and we have a great chance”.
“They’ve got the stadium, they’ve got the support, so it’s all about going out and spending the money now.”
Things are once again looking up for Spurs and there is growing optimism around the club.
But talkSPORT.com has taken a look at why, as Parlor suggests, it may be now or never for Spurs as they seek to end their 14-year run without great honour.
It’s victory or failure for Conte
Key to Tottenham’s upward trajectory was the appointment of Conte.
Spurs quickly took advantage of a rare situation where a world-class manager with Premier League winning experience was freely available.
He signed an initial 18-month contract, but experienced some hesitation, especially after a loss to Burnely, keeping the club and the fans on their toes about his future.
He will stay however, despite his Paris Saint-Germain links, as he quashed rumors following a meeting with the club’s chief executive, Fabio Paratici, last month.
Spurs know they’ve hit the jackpot with Conte and the likelihood of landing such an illustrious manager, unopposed and at his peak, is again in doubt.
Therefore, providing him with the necessary funds and full support to complete the rebuilding of his squad is the best way for Spurs to retain their valuable long-term asset.
Conte’s background is all about making an impact and getting quick success before moving on.
Despite stints as manager of Italian sides Atalanta, Siena and Inter Milan as well as Chelsea in the Premier League, Conte’s longest managerial spell lasted just three years during his spell at Juventus.
Any failure and he will make sure to leave the club quickly.
Champions League football won’t be easy
Spurs snatched Champions League football from bitter north London rivals Arsenal on the final day of last season.
As celebrations of a return to the top of European football began, the club’s attention quickly turned to planning for the new season with a guaranteed cash injection and the ability to attract quality to the club. .
Fierce competition in the Premier League means qualifying for the Champions League every season is not a given.
Tottenham have spent two years away from the Champions League, but one need only point to their north London neighbors to see how difficult it can be to climb back into the top four and attract the caliber of talent in the League. champions.
For Spurs, they must use the Champions League qualifying platform to attract the talent that Arsenal are unable to attract and with that be better placed to cement a top four place again next season. .
If they don’t qualify in 2022/23, chances are they will need a new manager the following season.
Splash the cash as Tottenham attract players again
Strengthening the squad in the right areas is fundamental for Conte and Tottenham to succeed next season.
Without splashing any funds, Tottenham can easily find themselves falling behind instead of closing the gap with Manchester City and Liverpool at the top and worse still, ending up losing Conte.
Conte was able to bring in Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski in January and both have proven to be strong additions.
Spurs kicked off in the summer transfer window with the smart additions of Fraser Forster as a replacement for goalkeeper Hugo Lloris as well as talented Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma for what looks like a bargain of 25million pound sterling.
The addition of reliable Ivan Perisic shows that Conte is building a team suited to his style of football but must be able to complete his shopping list without restrictions.
Because for every Perisic there is a Djed Spence and with Spurs stuttering over a fee for Middlesbrough’s much-loved full-back, now is the time to strike that sort of deal to ensure Conte has the team he wants his elimination before the new season.
With everything in place to launch an attack across all competitions next season, it feels like it’s now or never for Tottenham, as Conte lays the groundwork in an attempt to loosen the noose of Manchester City and Liverpool on national titles.
He’s done it before when his side Inter Milan toppled Juventus after nine straight Serie A wins and he’ll be aiming for another Premier League scalp.
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