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Antonio Conte is building a team at Tottenham that could finally end the club’s long wait for silverware, former striker Robbie Keane has told Stats Perform.
Spurs pulled off a major coup by appointing Conte as head coach last November after ending Nuno Espirito Santo’s tenure prematurely.
The north London side were eighth in the Premier League when Conte took over, but a fine second half of the campaign saw them propel fierce rivals Arsenal into fourth place.
Indeed, the 71 points accumulated by Tottenham in the 2021-22 campaign represents a tally they have only bettered in the previous three Premier League seasons (86 in 2016-17, 77 in 2017-18 and 72 in 2012-13).
Spurs’ return to the Champions League has been described as “a trophy” for Conte, but the real silverware has eluded the club since winning the EFL Cup in 2008.
Conte has already started to strengthen ahead of the 2022-23 season, with experienced winger Ivan Perisic – league winners in Germany and Italy – set to join Inter on July 1.
Other big names have also been linked, and Keane, who spent eight-and-a-half years with Tottenham over two spells, believes the newcomers can help bring trophies to the club.
“I think what he’s doing is he’s trying to get the business started earlier,” Keane said on a media day ahead of his appearance in Sunday’s Soccer Aid charity match.
“He already brought in Perisic from Inter, a player who has a winning mentality. He obviously won things.
“I think that’s what Conte wants to do. He wants to bring in people who have been there before and have done it, because a lot of them haven’t won anything.
“So bring in someone like him, and I’m sure they’ll do more business in the next month.”
Conte is no stranger to winning major honors as a manager, including during his previous spell in England when he won the Premier League title and FA Cup with Chelsea.
“Conte is a winner. He has a winning mentality and there is no doubt that he will definitely bring that,” added Keane.
“Tottenham next year have to do something, they have to win the FA Cup, the EFL Cup or the Champions League. I think the Premier League could be a step too far.
“I think if they bring three or four players they might have a chance, but I think Liverpool and Manchester City are so far ahead at the moment.
“But to win the FA Cup, EFL Cup, I think it’s a step in the right direction, and I hope, again, to finish in the top four.”
All the focus at Tottenham this window is on adding to the squad, in contrast to 12 months ago when Harry Kane’s possible departure grabbed the headlines.
The England international has appeared more stable since Conte’s arrival and ended the 2021-22 campaign strong with five goals in Tottenham’s last five Premier League games.
It took Kane’s tally to 17 for the top-flight campaign, which is his lowest return to the competition in his eight seasons as a regular starter, alongside 2018-19.
He was upstaged by teammate Son Heung-min, who, despite finishing joint top scorer in the league alongside Mohamed Salah, was not included in the PFA Team of the Year.
Son was also not on the list of nominees for the Player of the Year award, much to Keane’s surprise.
“Not even being nominated is weird,” Keane said. “For me, he is one of the best players in the Premier League.
“What he and Kane are doing together at Tottenham is incredible.
“Obviously I’ve known Harry since he was a kid, so I taught him! He’s a top player, and he kept scoring goals like he always does.”