Antonio Conte reveals Djed Spence signing wasn't his idea

Conte approved Spurs' move for Spence
Conte approved Spurs' move for Spence / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has admitted that it was not his idea to sign Djed Spence, but sanctioned the deal as he believes the full-back could become an 'important' player for them.

Spurs completed the signing of Spence on Tuesday after weeks of negotiations with Middlesbrough having initially eyed a deal back in January.

Spence became Tottenham's sixth signing of the summer following the arrivals of Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison and Clement Lenglet.

But Conte, who has the final say on transfers, has revealed that Spence was identified by the club as a transfer target, though was quick to point out that the 21-year-old has the potential to become a key player this season.

"Honestly when I spoke [to Daniel Levy] it was very simple because at the start of the conversation the club was very clear with me and said we reached an important achievement and maybe it was very difficult to think since November when I arrived to go into the Champions League but now we want to continue to grow, to grow together with ambition," Conte said when questioned about his transfer requests to the Spurs chairman.

"Also, for the club, it’s not simple to go into the transfer market and sign players free like Perisic and Forster and sign players on loan like Lenglet, and to sign players with money like Richarlison and Bissouma and Spence.

"Spence is an investment of the club. The club wanted to do it. I said okay, this player is young but he showed he can become a good, important player for us. The club decided to buy him."

Conte was also asked about his decision to stay at Tottenham having been linked with a swift exit at the back end of last season.

"[It was] because I said that we have just started the project. I signed a two-year contract for Tottenham, and then when I spoke with the club and we understood that we wanted to build something important," Conte added. "We have to know for sure it’s not simple because in England in this moment there are three teams that in the previous season finished in front of us.

"Chelsea, but especially Liverpool and Manchester City with 20 and more points higher than us, and United last season was a bad season. We overcame Arsenal in the last three games and you have to know that in England the situation is not simple, but at the same time we are working to improve the squad, because I think last season we worked very hard for the big achievement of the Champions League.

"Now we want to improve and I think it was very important to sign players like Bentancur and Kulusevski in January because in January four players went on loan and then we signed two players. Now we move at the right time to try to improve the team and the quality aspect, and also the numerical aspect because we have four competitions - the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup - and if we want to be competitive we have to have a good squad but we have to know that we have just started this path.

"I see that other teams they are signing important players and they’ve spent a lot of money (laughs), but it’s normal in England because the level is very high and the others have the same idea."