Antonio Conte accepts turning Tottenham into a successful team like his previous Chelsea and Inter sides will be the "biggest challenge" of his career.

Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo last month following a disappointing run of three defeats in four, culminating in a 3-0 home loss to a Manchester United side who had been embarrassed by Liverpool the previous weekend.

The Italian had been targeted in pre-season when Nuno – initially way down Spurs' managerial shortlist – was appointed, with Daniel Levy having to wait to get his man.

Results have not improved spectacularly since Conte arrived. They scraped a 3-2 win over Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League before a 0-0 draw with Everton and then a 2-1 defeat of Leeds United.

Most recently, a week ago, Spurs suffered a humiliating 2-1 loss to Slovenian side Mura, among the smallest clubs in the Europa Conference League.

Brentford visit Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday with Spurs ninth in the Premier League, but Conte's men do have two games in hand on fourth-placed West Ham, who are five points ahead on 24.

Conte is not taking anything for granted, however, as he recognises transforming Spurs into title challengers is going to be rather trickier than at his past two clubs.

"Biggest challenge, yes. But as I said in Mura, I'm not scared about this," he told reporters. "I have a lot of enthusiasm.

"When I arrived here, I enjoyed the situation. I enjoy working with the players, I enjoy speaking with the club, I enjoy creating a good base.

"Now the most important thing is this – to create a good base and then to build something important.

"We need a bit of time but I'm sure we can improve a lot and give satisfaction to our fans. But this is a big challenge for me. This is a big challenge for the club. This is a big challenge for the players. For everybody."

When Conte guided Chelsea to the 2016-17 Premier League title, Spurs were the only team within 10 points of them as Mauricio Pochettino's side finished second.

Spurs followed that up with third and fourth-placed finishes, but they have not ended a season in the top four in either of the two campaigns since.

Conte looked back to the side that challenged his Chelsea and suggested the reason for the club failing to maintain that standard is simply down to the squad passing its peak and ushering in an era of transition.

"The club, in the last years, has been slipping," he continued. "If I compare Tottenham to when I was in Chelsea, Tottenham was very, very competitive, was a really, really strong team.

"And I think that to lose important players or someone became old and then to have a change of generation, I think Tottenham now is paying a bit of this.

"Now we have to create, to start again, to think that we have to create a solid base and then to build, because if we don't have a solid base, it's impossible to build something important.

"I think that now is the right moment to create a solid base and then to start to build. To come back to fight for something important as [in] the past. I think it must be our target, but this target has to involve all – the club, the players. I think also our fans.

"I understand that sometimes [fans] lose their patience but I repeat I am here to put myself totally for Tottenham and to work 24 hours for this club because this a big challenge for me – maybe the best, big challenge, about the difficulty, the position that we are starting [from]."

The omens are not great for Spurs ahead of Brentford's visit, with Tottenham having lost each of their past five Premier League London derby matches, last losing more consecutively between March 2003 and January 2004 (six).

Similarly, Conte has a win percentage of just 44 per cent in London derbies (P16 W7 D3 L6), compared to 73 per cent in games against teams not from London.

Is Robert Lewandowski's time at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich coming to an end?

Lewandowski has called Bayern home since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2014.

However, the 33-year-old Poland international is reportedly ready for a new challenge.

 

TOP STORY – LEWANDOWSKI SET ON MADRID MOVE

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski has ordered his agent to finalise a transfer to LaLiga giants Real Madrid, according to Diario AS.

Lewandowski has repeatedly excelled for Bayern, where he has broken numerous records, while he was unfortunate not to win the 2021 Ballon d'Or.

Previously linked with a move to the Premier League, Lewandowski appears to be set on a switch to Madrid, where his former team-mate David Alaba now calls home.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport claims Fiorentina want to sell Dusan Vlahovic abroad but the Serbia international is not interested in Arsenal as he eyes Juventus. Vlahovic has also been linked with Manchester City, Manchester United, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Bayern. It comes as Sky Sport Italia says Fiorentina are close to signing Lille forward Jonathan Ikone.

- Interim United manager Ralf Rangnick will try to convince Erling Haaland to leave Dortmund for Old Trafford, per Bild. Rangnick and Haaland worked together at Salzburg. Haaland is a player in demand amid interest from Madrid, Barcelona, Juve, Bayern, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain. Since Rangnick's arrival, United have also been linked with RB Leipzig pair Christopher Nkunku and Amadou Haidara, as well as Chelsea forward Timo Werner.

- Record reports Dortmund are keen on Benfica and Uruguay attacker Darwin Nunez amid uncertainty over the future of Haaland.

- Premier League champions City have scouted Bologna and Sweden sensation Mattias Svanberg, according to Nicolo Schira.

Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte does not expect centre-back Cristian Romero to return from injury before the end of the year.

Romero damaged his hamstring during Argentina's goalless draw with Brazil last month and has missed Tottenham's last two games.

Conte said last week the injury was more serious than first thought and a second scan has confirmed the defender is facing a spell on the sidelines.

"The news is not positive. Not good," Conte said at a news conference previewing Tottenham's home Premier League clash with Brentford on Thursday.

"The injury is serious. I think it'll take time to see him again. Surely next year. We need to check his injury week by week but the injury is serious.

"Now he's trying to recover but he needs a long time to recover. It's a pity because you know he's an important player for us. The injury is very serious."

Pressed on when exactly he expects to see Romero back in action, Conte replied: "Next year. Next year. January, February, I don't know. But for sure in 2021 he has finished. 

"We have to wait and see his recovery but the injury is serious."

Romero was named as Defender of the Year in Serie A last term before joining Tottenham from Atalanta on an initial loan that will be made permanent next year.

The 23-year-old has made 13 appearances in all competitions to date for Spurs and started Conte's first two games in charge.

Despite losing a key player to injury, plus some mixed results since succeeding Nuno Espirito Santo last month, Conte is not looking ahead to the January transfer window.

"Honestly, when I decided to become Tottenham manager, I didn't speak about this aspect," he said. "When you take a job, you have to make your evaluations and you have to feel your sensations. 

"And honestly, I felt Tottenham was the right club to work and to bring my ideas and philosophy of football. For this reason, I accepted the job.

"I didn't talk about January or the way to improve the team. I repeat: I'm here because I have great enthusiasm, great patience to start a new work with Tottenham. 

"If I'm here it's because I want to build something important with the club. I know at the moment we're a bit far from the top clubs but we need to work to improve the situation. 

"To start to and also to create a good basis where you start – and then you build. We can do this and then our fans will support us.

"At the moment it's not simple, but I have great enthusiasm and great patience and I believe that here we can win something importance. 

"We need patience and time but I have great desire to do something great."

Conte did provide some more positive injury news with regard to Giovani Lo Celso, who he expects to return to training the day after the Brentford game.

Spurs welcome Brentford to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium unbeaten in their last 11 meetings with their London rivals in all competitions in a run stretching back to 1948.

However, Tottenham have lost each of their last five London derbies in the Premier League – their worst-such run since losing six in a row between March 2003 and January 2004.

Manchester United's search for a new permanent manager continues, with Mauricio Pochettino the favourite.

Ralf Rangnick has been appointed on an interim basis until the end of the season, though Michael Carrick is set to preside over a third game as caretaker manager on Thursday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last month after a poor run of results at the end of a trophy-less tenure.

 

TOP STORY – MANCINI EMERGES AS SHOCK MAN UTD CONTENDER

Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has emerged as a contender for the vacant Man Utd managerial role, claims The Telegraph.

The current Italy head coach, who led the Azzurri to the Euro 2020 title, is under "careful consideration" by United chiefs, according to the report.

Mancini is contracted with Italy until 2026 on a lucrative deal but may potentially be available to take over from Rangnick pending Italy's World Cup qualification play-offs in March.

 

ROUND-UP

Milan want to sign Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette as soon as possible and will make a move for him in January rather than wait for him to become a free agent at the season's end, according to Sport Italia journalist Rudy Galetti.

Man Utd have been offered the opportunity to sign Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho by Barcelona, reports Sport.

- Sport also claims Barcelona have a "total agreement" to sign Man City's Spanish forward Ferran Torres, although they want the English champions to lower their asking price of £60million.

Ajax are looking to do a deal with Tottenham to sign Dutch forward Steven Bergwijn on loan, according to De Telegraaf.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus have pulled out of the race to sign Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, with Chelsea leading the contenders.

Manchester City's forward pursuit has dominated headlines.

Since Sergio Aguero left for Barcelona, Pep Guardiola's champions have been targeting a replacement.

Karim Benzema could reportedly fill the void.

 

TOP STORY – BENZEMA TO CITY?

Manchester City want to sign Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, according to El Nacional.

Premier League champions City are desperate to bolster their attack, having missed out on Tottenham's Harry Kane following the departure of Sergio Aguero at the start of the season.

Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic have been linked, but Benzema – out of contract in 2023 – has emerged as an option.

 

ROUND-UP

- Nicolo Schira claims Bayern Munich are set to battle Chelsea for Federico Chiesa. The Italy international is on loan at Juventus from Fiorentina and set to join the Bianconeri permanently at the end of the season. However, if Juve fail to qualify for the Champions League, rivals could pounce.

Barcelona are eyeing a move for Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, per Mundo Deportivo. Martial has found game time hard to come by at Old Trafford.

- SuperDerpote claims Madrid midfielder Luka Modric would be open to leaving for City. Modric is out of contract at the end of the season. It comes after Marca said Los Blancos are not interested in United star and soon-to-be free agent Paul Pogba.

Marcelo Brozovic is set to re-sign with Serie A champions Inter, according to Tuttosport. Brozovic has been linked with United, Barca and PSG.

Tottenham's visit to Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday has been postponed due to adverse weather conditions.

The two sides were set to clash at Turf Moor, but the snowy conditions have forced the match officials to postpone the game with the pitch completely covered by the continued downfall.

Antonio Conte's side had arrived in Lancashire for the away game before referee Peter Bankes deemed the conditions unplayable despite the best efforts of Burnley's ground staff to remove the snow.

Spurs' statement read: "We can confirm that today's match against Burnley has been postponed due to adverse weather conditions."

Storm Arwen has swept across the United Kingdom over the weekend, though the rest of the top-flight fixtures will go ahead.

It remains unclear when the fixture will be rearranged for, with Tottenham next due to host Brentford on Thursday, while Burnley visit Wolves the day before.

Spurs collected their first domestic win under new head coach Conte last time out with a 2-1 win over Leeds United, albeit their good work came undone in a 2-1 reverse on Thursday against the Europa Conference League's lowest-ranked side, NS Mura of Slovenia.

 

Antonio Conte reiterated "it will take time to bring Tottenham back" following Spurs' shock 2-1 loss to Slovenian minnows Mura in the Europa Conference League.

Harry Kane looked to have salvaged a point for Tottenham by cancelling out Tommy Horvat's opener at Fazanerija, but Amadej Marosa scored a dramatic winner with the final kick on Thursday.

Spurs made nine changes from their 2-1 Premier League win over Leeds United last weekend and played more than an hour with 10 men following Ryan Sessegnon's dismissal.

But the defeat – Tottenham's first under head coach Conte since his appointment earlier this month – will still go down as one of the worst in their European history against a side with a UEFA coefficient ranking of 341.

Spurs can now no longer finish top of Group G, meaning a two-legged play-off awaits in February should they first match Vitesse's result in the final round of group fixtures in a fortnight.

Conte, who has a record of two wins, a draw and a defeat from his four games since replacing Nuno Espirito Santo, accepted an improvement is required in every department ahead of hosting Rennes.

"This is a bad loss for us. The performance was poor," the former Inter boss said. "We know we have a lot of work ahead of us. This is a difficult moment for us. 

"We need patience to improve, to be good again. We were poor not only technically and tactically but also mentally. It will take time to bring Tottenham back.

"I don't take this loss personally. I accepted this challenge to improve and build Tottenham to a better level. But it will take time. 

"I want to thank our supporters for their support. We will analyse the game and I will talk to the players then."

Tottenham are seventh in the Premier League with 12 matches played, four points adrift of the top four, and are back in action against Burnley on Sunday.

"I think this team is very young but at the same time we have to work and improve because the details move the final result," Serie A-winning coach Conte added.

"I did not like what happened tonight, the performance. I must be honest and tell you that after three and a half weeks, I am starting to understand the situation. I can tell you that the situation is not simple.

"It is not simple because in this moment because for sure the level of Tottenham is not so high. There is an important gap to the top teams in England. Of this we must not be scared. 

"I am here to work, here to improve the situation. I know we have to work hard but we have also to improve the quality of the situation, because if we want to be competitive."

Kane, one of two players to retain his place from the Leeds game, was on target for Spurs but otherwise looked off the pace – as did the rest of his team-mates.

"We started poorly, conceded an early goal and were left with ten men," said Kane, who has scored eight goals in his last four outings for club and country.

"In the second half we put on the pressure, scored but then let them get a goal in the last second. We're disappointed, we're angry and we have to learn from this."

Tottenham's Europa Conference League hopes hang in the balance after they suffered a humiliating 2-1 defeat against Mura.

Amadej Marosa scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner as 10-man Spurs were beaten for the first time under Antonio Conte.

Prior to Marosa's heroics, the Group G contest had appeared to be heading for a stalemate with Harry Kane cancelling out Tomi Horvat's first-half strike at Fazanerija.

The visitors, who were a man light for over an hour in Slovenia after Ryan Sessegnon was sent off for two bookable offences, now need to beat Rennes in two weeks' time to guarantee progress into the knockout stages.

Antonio Conte is worried that Cristian Romero's hamstring injury is more serious than first thought as Tottenham await the results of a second scan.

Romero sustained the damage during Argentina's goalless draw with Brazil in last week's World Cup qualifier and missed Tottenham's 2-1 win over Leeds United on Sunday.

The severity of the injury remains unclear, but Conte – who is also without Giovanni Lo Celso and Dane Scarlett for Thursday's trip to Mura in the Europa Conference League – is not optimistic.

"I think his injury is a bit serious. We have to wait. I don't know how long he will need to recover," Conte said at Wednesday's pre-match news conference. 

"His injury is worse than Lo Celso and Scarlett. He needs another scan, then the doctor can give more details."

Spurs signed Romero from Atalanta on an initial loan, with a permanent deal for a reported fee of £35.25million (€42m) set to be sealed in 2022, and the 23-year-old has made 13 appearances in all competitions to date.

Despite the defender potentially facing a prolonged spell on the sidelines, Conte is not yet thinking about bringing in a replacement in the upcoming transfer window.

"I'm not thinking about January now," he said. "There's still a long way to go. But I also need to make my evaluations about these players, the whole squad and then we'll see."

Conte will take all of his available players to Slovenia for Tottenham's Europa Conference League tie with Mura, who they beat 5-1 in the reverse fixture under Nuno Espirito Santo.

That includes versatile wide player Ryan Sessegnon following his return to action at the weekend after returning from a three-month spell out of his own.

He has been hampered by injuries throughout his two-and-a-half years with Spurs, which includes a spell on loan with Hoffenheim, but Conte is hopeful the 21-year-old can now get a run of games under his belt.

"Ryan has a great potential. I have seen in the past he suffered injuries, now we are trying to work in the right way with him," Conte said. 

"It's very important during the training session to push yourself. We are working with him for two weeks and he's ready to start tomorrow. I can't wait to see his performance. He's a talented player. Now he needs regularity."

Conte added: "All the players available will come with us, they must be ready to play. I need to make rotations. Some players are a bit tired because of games with national team and our training. 

"But many need game time. We need to take this fixture seriously. But I need to know the players much better and need to see that during a game."

Manchester United's managerial post is vacant after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday.

Solskjaer had led United since December 2018 but failed to win a trophy, finishing runners-up in last season's Premier League and Europa League.

The lean spell has United desperate to return to their former glories with their next managerial appointment.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE NOT KEEN ON MAN UTD JOB

World Cup winner and ex-Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is not interested in the vacant Manchester United job, reports BBC Sport.

Zidane left Madrid in May after failing to win LaLiga and has been linked with a host of roles since.

United have approached the 49-year-old about their vacant post but he is not interested in the position at this point.

 ROUND-UP

- Fichajes claims that reported United target Mauricio Pochettino would put Tottenham's Harry Kane at the top of his wishlist if he got the Red Devils job. The current Paris Saint-Germain boss is among those linked with the vacant post. The Telegraph claims that Pochettino is open to moving to Old Trafford at the end of this season.

- Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is United's second choice behind Pochettino reports Sky Sports, while The Sun claims the Red Devils have already approached Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers.

- Sport claims that new Barcelona boss Xavi wants to sign Al-Sadd's Algeria international striker Baghdad Bounedjah. Xavi coached Al-Sadd until taking over at Barca earlier this month.

- Tottenham may make a move for Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo who is unhappy at the club, claims Calciomercato.

- Fichajes reports that Real Madrid have an interest in Mason Mount, who is currently in talks with Chelsea on a new deal. Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also interested in Mount's services.

Antonio Conte agreed with Tottenham fans who were angry with the team's display in the first half of their Premier League win over Leeds United on Sunday.

The former Chelsea boss celebrated his first victory since returning to England's top flight as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Sergio Reguilon completed a comeback in north London.

Dan James had given Leeds a half-time lead as Spurs became the first side since at least 2003-04 to go six consecutive halves of Premier League football without managing a shot on target.

Some supporters made their feelings clear and the home side duly responded, Hojbjerg levelling before Reguilon pounced after Eric Dier's free-kick hit the post to secure a 2-1 win.

"This win is very important because we struggled today," Conte told Sky Sports. "We played two different games and they beat us on the tactical aspect in the first half.

"To play against Leeds and against [Marcelo] Bielsa is not easy. We must be satisfied. This is only a point from which to start for the rest of the season.

"We celebrated the win because I think that it was difficult and we knew this. I read the stats of Leeds and they were the first to bring high intensity. In the first half, we struggled a lot because they played better than us, they won tackles and they led the game. We conceded possession too much.

"In the second half, we changed the plan tactically and we started to put pressure in every area of the pitch. We created chances to score and maybe we deserved to score more goals. For sure it's an important win because we needed this.

"After the first half, the fans weren't satisfied with the football and I agreed with them. In the second, we changed it totally. I changed the plan tactically but they then played well and with personality.

"We created difficulties for Leeds in the second half and to win in this way is good as I bring with me and my players two different situations – the first half and the second half."

The result lifted Spurs above Manchester United into seventh in the table, four points behind the top four and 10 adrift of leaders Chelsea.

While he considers them at a disadvantage, Conte sees no reason why his side cannot mount a challenge for a Champions League place over the remaining 26 games.

"For sure we want to fight and try to improve the position in the table," he said. "I must be honest and say that in England the league is very difficult and every game is tough. You can lose points against all the teams.

"At the moment, there are four teams that for many reasons – working with the same coaches or having invested a lot of money – there is a gap to four teams but I'm not scared about this.

"I trust in my players and in this squad. We want to fight to stay close and fight for the Champions League. Then, if there is one team that slips in this season or makes mistakes, we must be there to try to do our best."

Tottenham came from behind to beat Leeds United 2-1 and get their first win under new head coach Antonio Conte.

After starting his second spell in the Premier League with a goalless draw at Everton, the former Chelsea boss saw his side fall behind at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday before half-time through a Dan James strike.

However, Spurs produced an encouraging display in the second half, levelling via Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before Sergio Reguilon reacted quickest in the box to tap in the winner.

Leeds, without a Premier League away win over Spurs since February 2001, started the match on the front foot and had Hugo Lloris worried by shots from Stuart Dallas and Joe Gelhardt.

Conte's men offered little threat of their own, and they went into the break behind when James raced in to convert Jack Harrison's low cross from the left. It meant Spurs became the first side since at least 2003-04 to go six straight halves of play in the competition without managing a single shot on target.

They responded within 30 seconds of the restart, Harry Kane's effort squirming off the base of the right-hand post after Illan Meslier's block, before Lloris just denied James a second.

Son Heung-min's deflected strike crashed off Meslier's crossbar, and the Spurs forward then had penalty shouts waved away after a challenge by Kalvin Phillips, but the breakthrough finally came 58 minutes in when Hojbjerg's scuffed shot bounced through a crowded box and into the bottom-right corner.

Spurs' were then rewarded for their improved efforts 11 minutes later, Reguilon left with a simple finish after Eric Dier's free-kick came back off the base of the post.

 

What does it mean? Conte breathes life into Spurs

After a listless first-half performance, Spurs showed significantly more endeavour in the second to claim the three points and move above Manchester United into seventh in the table.

The result also means Conte has registered at least one win against all 54 sides he has faced as a coach in Serie A and the Premier League.

Reguilon looks the part

Conte's success with wing-backs is well documented, and Reguilon could prove another key component to his plans.

The Spain international delivered six crosses from open play down the left, created a goalscoring chance and helped himself to the winner.

Leeds look in trouble

Leeds produced one of their best first-half displays of the season but simply could not raise their performance to match Spurs after the break.

With just two wins from 12 and two points keeping them outside the drop zone, Marcelo Bielsa needs to stop the rot quickly.

What's next?

Spurs head to Mura in the Europa Conference League on Thursday before a league visit to Burnley next Sunday. Leeds are next in action at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on November 27.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it seems, is no longer at the wheel.

Following another drubbing, this time a 4-1 rout at Watford on Saturday, Manchester United have reportedly called time on Solskjaer's tenure.

After a lengthy meeting, the club great is set to be axed.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER TO BE SACKED

Manchester United have agreed to sack manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to widespread reports.

Having already been humiliated by Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester City prior to the international break, United's season hit a new low following Saturday's 4-1 rout at lowly Watford.

Amid a worrying slump, The Athletic, Manchester Evening News and Fabrizio Romano claim United have opted to part with Solskjaer amid links to former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers and Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport says Raheem Sterling has told Premier League champions Manchester City he wants to join LaLiga giants Barcelona.

Barca and City are among the clubs interested in Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette, per Fichajes.

- The Sun reports Newcastle United are looking to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic. The Serbia international, who scored twice to sink Milan on Saturday, has been linked with City, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are set to go head-to-head for the signature of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, says Mundo Deportivo. The Germany international is a free agent at season's end. Bayern are also believed to be interested.

Jesse Lingard's future does not appear to be with current club Manchester United.

Contract talks between Lingard and United have reportedly broken down.

The England international has only played eight times in all competitions this season, starting just once.

 

TOP STORY –  LINGARD SET FOR JANUARY SWITCH

Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard will make a £10million move to West Ham in January, according to The Sun.

The Red Devils are said to be looking to cash in on the 28-year-old England international before he is out of contract at the end of this season.

Lingard impressed during a six-month loan spell with the Hammers in the second half of last season, with nine goals and four assists.

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham are also interested in signing Lingard on a free transfer in the off-season, according to the Daily Express.

- United are prepared to sell Diogo Dalot to Roma in order to facilitate a deal for Atletico Madrid's England full-back Kieran Trippier, claims the Manchester Evening News.

- Marca claims that Real Madrid are ramping up their pursuit of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who is out of contract at the end of this season. Bayern Munich are also said to be tracking the Germany international.

- Promising young Argentina international Julian Alvarez is being monitored by Italian powerhouse pair Juventus and Milan, reports Calciomercato. Alvarez, who has four Argentina caps, is currently with River Plate who will wait until December to evaluate any offers.

Antonio Conte wants Harry Kane to reproduce his "world-class" England form in a Tottenham shirt and believes the striker's World Cup qualifying feats were just the boost he needed.

A desperate start to the Premier League season by Kane has seen the striker net just once in 10 games for Spurs, and provide only a single assist.

After last season's 23 goals from 35 games, which he complemented with a career-high 14 assists, it marks a drastic waning in fortunes for the England captain.

The most widely advanced theory among those questioning that decline is that Kane is fatigued, not only from his exertions with England at Euro 2020 but from a drawn-out saga concerning his own future.

Kane was widely expected to be a Manchester City player by now, but that did not come to pass, with Tottenham resistant to efforts to take their star man.

He failed to deliver in the league for Nuno Espirito Santo during the Portuguese's short-lived spell as Tottenham boss, but new head coach Conte will expect Kane to produce talismanic performances.

After firing a hat-trick against Albania last Friday, followed by four against San Marino, Kane reached 16 goals in the calendar year for England, a new record for the team.

"To score is never easy. I'm happy for him, the national team. England are now ready to play in the World Cup in Qatar," Conte said.

"It's a good achievement. I am happy for Harry because he broke the record with England. We are talking about a world-class striker, an important player for us.

"For sure to score is a boost for him. I am very happy, I have the possibility to get to know him much more.

"He is a top player, he wants to train very hard and improve. It's fantastic for me because my first task is to try and improve the players, bring them to another level. I think in this team, many players can do this."

Kane has managed a minimum of 17 goals in each of the last seven Premier League seasons, but he has serious work to do to threaten that mark this term.

After 10 games last season, he had seven goals and nine assists, clicking sensationally with Son Heung-min as Tottenham made a flying start that saw them lead the table in early December.

Jose Mourinho and his players could not convert that into a sustained title challenge, and Tottenham are already so far back this term that a push for the Premier League trophy is almost a non-starter. They sit ninth heading into the weekend, 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

For the home game against Leeds United on Sunday, they will be without the injured Cristian Romero, and Conte has a doubt over Giovani Lo Celso after his return from Argentina duty.

Conte says everyone at Tottenham must "feel important" and have "a sense of belonging".

"You must work with your heart, passion," said the former Inter, Chelsea, Italy and Juventus boss. "This is the right way to improve and extend the sense of belonging to our supporters and our players during the game."

He hopes Tanguy Ndombele, Tottenham's blissfully talented midfielder, feels that way. According to Conte, Ndombele "has to work much more than the others".

The French playmaker endured a poor 2020-21 season, with his contributions nosediving. In a host of departments, his numbers slumped.

Per 90 minutes played in the Premier League, his performances slipped from a promising 2019-20 effort, with goals per 90 falling (0.18 to 0.13), assists going the same way (0.18 to 0.09), along with chances created (1.07 to 0.6), tackles won (1.43 to 0.85) and successful passes ending in the final third (14.39 to 10.64).

Conte said: "I have seen many managers struggle with his position. He has the quality. He has to understand it is a team, and he has to play into the team.

"It is important to do what the position asks you to do. We are working very hard. He has to work much more than the others.

"He has talent, but he has to put it into the team for the team, not for the single player. Every single player has to know what he has to do. If every player just runs around the pitch, it will be a mess."

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