£ 43million target Tottenham said he would ‘not be suitable’ for Conte’s tactics
Nicolo Zaniolo has obviously thought about how he would fit into Antonio Conte’s iconic 3-5-2 formation.
And for Tottenham Hotspur – who have followed the young midfielder since Mauricio Pochettino’s heyday – the omens aren’t particularly good.
According to Calciomercato, the underperforming Premier League giants inquired about Zaniolo’s availability in October, identifying the sleek and stylish Italy international as someone capable of adding a spike to their direct attack.
Often this season, Tottenham have looked like a team trying to slice an overcooked steak with the kind of wooden knife you get at a fish’n’chip store.
In the meantime, 22-year-old Zaniolo has grown into one of Serie A‘s most exciting talents at Stadio Olimpico, thriving in a variety of different roles.
But, as Christian Eriksen would tell you, it’s not easy for an Orthodox number ten to find a place in Conte’s favorite tactical device; one that prioritizes hard-working wide players and box-to-box midfield generals.
“For a manager like Conte, I would even play in the 3-5-2,” Zaniolo told FC Inter News in February, before admitting that the 52-year-old system was not ideal for a player of his qualities. .
“(But) that wouldn’t suit me very well considering the way I play and the way I like to move around the pitch.”
“In Inter de Conte, where do you play it?” agreed Italian football journalist Furio Focolari, at a time when the Roma star was linked with a move to San Siro.
“I can’t see Zaniolo in a coached team (by Conte) – he would end up as Eriksen.”
Something Tottenham need to think about, then.
Is Nicolo Zaniolo a bad choice for Antonio Conte’s Tottenham?
Nuno Espirito Santo was still at the helm when Spurs reportedly filed an investigation into Zaniolo.
Tottenham general manager Fabio Paratici is believed to have been the driving force behind a potential deal, having admitted in 2019 that he would have loved signing Zaniolo for Juventus.
Now, with Conte at the helm, it makes little sense for Spurs to pursue their interest in a player who could have been the last piece of Pochettino’s puzzle but looks like a square peg in a round hole these days.
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