When Antonio Conte arrived at Spurs, the aim was for the fiery Italian to guide the North London outfit back to the top table of European football. They hadn’t been in the Champions League since the 2019/20 season, and heading into the final day against an already relegated Norwich; they knew qualification was in their hands.
The only other team left in the top four race were Spurs’ North London rivals Arsenal, who were two points adrift and playing Everton at the Emirates. So it was a case of Mikel Arteta’s men having to make sure they got the job done against a now safe Toffees side, which they did by winning 5-1, and hoping that Spurs somehow slipped up at Carrow Road.
But, as many will have expected, Spurs weren’t going to be denied when they had Champions League qualification in their grasp once again. The North Londoners went ahead early through Dejan Kulusevski, a January arrival who has set the Premier League alight. And then talisman Harry Kane was on hand to pretty much wrap things up in 32 minutes. Spurs headed into the break two goals to the good and looking hungry for more.
While all eyes were on Heung-Min Son, who was leading the Premier League goalscoring charts and in line for the Golden Boot, Kulusevski made it 3-0 and put the game beyond doubt. Yes, Norwich were already down and resigned to yet another defeat, but Spurs were purring and wanted to make a statement on the final day. It was that man Son who put the icing on the cake for Spurs, Conte and himself, with a quickfire five minute double. It wrapped up a 5-0 final day win, Champions League qualification, and a share of the Golden Boot for the South Korean.
With qualification into next season’s Champions League in the bag, the onus is now on the Spurs hierarchy to secure Conte moving forwards. His future has often been a hot topic of discussion, but a seat back at European football’s top table is sure to begin swaying the Italian towards staying in North London for the time being. Conte, alongside Managing director of Football Fabio Paratici, recruited well in January, bringing in Kulusevski and Rodrigo Bentacur, who has also impressed.
It's thought that Spurs are set to sanction the signing of at least half a dozen new players this summer in order for Conte to begin reshaping his squad further. It’s believed that the group of new arrivals this summer will be a mix of players who are ready to hit the ground running with the Champions League in mind and a few who have the potential to go on and star in the future. Again, the thinking is that this will be another tick in the box when it comes to keeping Conte at the club for at least another season.