LONDON: Four months too late Tottenham have appointed Antonio Conte as new manager until the summer of 2023.
The appointment of the ex-Chelsea, Juventus and Internazionale coach is, in itself, an admission of a major blunder in failing to reach a deal in the summer and a costly waste of time and money with unsuited Nuno Espirito Santo.
Spurs sacked Nuno on Monday after the dismal 3-0 defeat to Manchester United which left them eighth in the table.
Conte said: “I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again.”
The Italian returns to London after winning the Premier League in his first season at Chelsea (2016-17) and the FA Cup in his second before being sacked in 2018.
He then led Inter Milan to their first Serie A title in 11 years before leaving the club in May.
Conte had been in charge for two years and Inter said it was a mutual decision to end his contract with one year remaining.
The former Juventus and Italy coach was then in talks with Tottenham in the summer about becoming Jose Mourinho’s successor.
But negotiations were halted before Spurs appointed ex-Wolves boss Nuno at the end of June, with the Portuguese boss, 47, lasting just four months.
“I can’t wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach,” said Conte.
“Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching.
“But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark.
“Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.”
Conte’s first game will be at home against Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League on Thursday before Spurs play at Everton in the league on Sunday.
“His track record speaks for itself, with vast experience and trophies in both Italy and England,” said Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici.
“I know first hand the qualities Antonio can bring to us, having worked with him at Juventus, and look forward to seeing his work with our talented group of players.”