ANTONIO CONTE has hailed the role Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy played in convincing him to become manager after rejecting the club in the summer.
The 52-year-old has been appointed as the new Spurs boss on an initial contract until 2023 following the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo.
Despite being heavily linked with the Manchester United job, Conte has opted to take charge of the North London outfit, who sit eighth in the Premier League table.
Conte, who guided Inter Milan to the Serie A title last season, has finally broken his silence on why he rebuffed Spurs' approach earlier in the year.
Speaking to the club's website, he said: "I am extremely happy to return to coaching, and to do so at a Premier League club that has the ambition to be a protagonist again.
“Tottenham Hotspur has state-of-the-art facilities and one of the best stadiums in the world.
“I can't wait to start working to convey to the team and the fans the passion, mentality and determination that have always distinguished me, as a player and as a coach.
“Last summer our union did not happen because the end of my relationship with Inter was still too recent and emotionally too involved with the end of the season, so I felt that it wasn’t yet the right time to return to coaching.
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“But the contagious enthusiasm and determination of Daniel Levy in wanting to entrust me with this task had already hit the mark.
"Now that the opportunity has returned, I have chosen to take it with great conviction.”
SunSport reported at the time that there were numerous stumbling blocks in the summer.
Conte's £15million-a-year salary demands proved to be the first issue.
Added to that the Italian was said to insist on being given a mammoth transfer arsenal – something Levy was not prepared to do at the time.
The £1billion move to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as well as the coronavirus pandemic hit the club's finances hard.
That meant Levy was unwilling to give in to Conte's 'unrealistic' demands that could have been detrimental to the future of the club.
CHANGE OF HEART
There has now been a change of heart at Tottenham.
Commenting on Conte's appointment, Spurs' Managing Director Fabio Paratici lauded his Italian compatriot, who he worked with at Juventus.
He remarked: "We are delighted to welcome Antonio to the Club.
"His track record speaks for itself, with vast experience and trophies in both Italy and England.
“I know first-hand the qualities Antonio can bring to us, having worked with him at Juventus, and look forward to seeing his work with our talented group of players.”
Conte flew into London for talks on Monday, where he thrashed out a deal with Levy.
It is understood he will be backed in the January transfer market, and given a £150million war chest to bring in his own players.
The ex-Chelsea manager will pocket around £290,000-a-week in North London, which will see him take home £15million-a-year.
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