Antonio Conte satisfied despite stalemate
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Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has turned down the chance to sign Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard in order to focus on bringing Gareth Bale to north London for a third time, according to reports. The Italian boss was appointed as the club’s new head coach earlier this month to replace Nuno Espirito Santo on a permanent basis and is expected to try and use the January market to his advantage.
Spurs have endured a tough start to the new Premier League campaign, winning just four of their 11 matches in the competition to date.
Conte was unable to get off to a winning start in his first league game in charge before the international break, with Everton holding Spurs to a goalless draw at Goodison Park.
The 52-year-old will be expected to lead a renewed assault on the Premier League’s upper reaches between now and the end of the season.
He will likely be eager to dip into the January transfer window in order to strengthen his ranks with the support of club director Fabio Paratici and chairman Daniel Levy.
The latter is willing to back his new boss after tying him down at the second time of asking last week and it seems as though a January raid on Real Madrid could soon emerge as a real possibility.
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Levy is keen on landing Hazard, who excelled under Conte’s guidance at Chelsea, but the Spurs manager would rather pursue a move for Bale, according to El Chiringuito.
It is claimed that Conte has indicated a preference to sign the Welshman over Hazard due to long-standing concerns over the Belgian winger’s intensity and work rate.
Bale spent last season on loan at Spurs after falling out of favour under then-Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, scoring 16 times in all competitions.
The 32-year-old then returned to the Spanish capital in the hope of working his way back into the first-team setup following Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival.
However, he has only featured on three occasions in La Liga so far this season, with an unfortunate knee injury seeing him miss out on the majority of the campaign.
Bale will be out of contract in the summer and will be able to negotiate a pre-contract agreement with a non-Spanish club from January as things stand.
It remains to be seen whether Spurs will look to snap him up on a free transfer or try to tempt Real Madrid with the offer of a reduced fee in the new year.
Meanwhile, it seems as though there is little possibility of the north Londoners chasing a move for Hazard, who has failed to live up to expectations during his time at the Bernabeu.
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He sealed an £88million switch to Real Madrid back in 2019 after establishing himself as one of the world’s best players with Chelsea.
However, the Belgium international has struggled to hold down a regular place in the side, starting just five games in all competitions this season.
Chelsea have been credited with an interest in bringing Hazard back to Stamford Bridge in the near future, with Blues boss Thomas Tuchel said to be a keen admirer.
The forward remains under contract until 2024, but it seems likely that he could be sold before the start of next season as Real Madrid weigh up the idea of cutting their losses and alleviating their wage bill.
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