Football News

“I hate to say it but what an appointment” — Former Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas reacts to Antonio Conte joining Spurs

By Ben Green

Published: 11:20, 4 November 2021 | Updated: 14:30, 21 September 2022

Former Arsenal and Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas begrudgingly accepted Tottenham Hotspur have pulled off quite the coup with the appointment of Antonio Conte as manager of the club.

The previous Chelsea, Juventus and Inter boss has returned to the Premier League with Spurs on an 18-month contract following the dismissal of Nuno Espirito Santo, who lasted less than six months in the north London hotseat.

The Italian was previously linked with the vacant post in the summer after Jose Mourinho was sent packing last season, but he decided against joining the club despite Fabio Paratici’s best efforts, though the two have now re-established a relationship that once flourished at Juventus.

The capture of Conte has been viewed as a real game-changer and a possible power-shifting appointment if the Italian can work his magic in the dugout, a notion shared by one of his former students in Fabregas, who worked under him for two years at Chelsea between 2016 and 2018.

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During his time at Cobham, Conte guided the Blues to Premier League title success in 2016/17 and an FA Cup triumph the following campaign, turning heads in England with a wing-back system that was largely unheralded at that time.

Iterations of a three-man rearguard with overlapping wing-backs is largely common practice in the English game now, with its trickle-down effect impacting the lower leagues. West Brom are the biggest proponents of the system in the Championship this season, for example.

Given his innovative tactical style and relentless training methods, Fabregas believes Spurs have really pulled it out of the bag with Conte joining them.

He wrote on Twitter: “I hate to say it but what an appointment by Spurs.”

Conte meanwhile assured fans that he will look to bring, not only an “attractive” brand of football to the club, but ‘stability’, which has often eluded the club since their Champions League final appearance under Mauricio Pochettino.

“My coaching philosophy is very simple, to play good football and attractive football for our fans with passion. To have a team stable, not up and down,” said Conte.

“The fans deserve to have a competitive team with a will to fight. I’ll do everything to deserve their support.”