A look at Conte's previous attempt to sign Lingard and work with former United players

Tottenham have reportedly made contact with Jesse Lingard over a potential summer move when his Manchester United contract runs out.

The Evening Standard report that Tottenham’s interest dates back over a year, to when former United boss Jose Mourinho was still in charge in north London.

They also apparently made an approach in the summer when Nuno Espirito Santo had taken over, but that came to nothing.

Antonio Conte is now Spurs boss and his interest in Lingard also reportedly pre-dates his arrival at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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Conte tried to bring Lingard to Inter

In January 2021, the Mirror reported that Conte wanted to bring Lingard to the San Siro when he was still manager of Inter Milan.

The Italian wanted the United academy graduate to replace Christian Eriksen as a playmaker in his midfield, but the Dane did not depart in that window.

Perhaps that explains why Conte did not get his man at that time, and Lingard ended up joining West Ham on loan, where he shone and got his England place back.

Conte is in a similar position at Spurs now, where he needs to offload Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele before bringing in a new creative midfielder in the shape of Lingard.

Lingard looks set to run down his United contract and leave as a free agent, and Tottenham seem content to wait until the summer to sign him. Although, at that point, there will likely be even more interest in his services.

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Conte has had success taking unwanted United players before

During his time at Inter, Conte actually helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reshape his United squad.

In August 2019, three months after his appointment, Conte took Romelu Lukaku from Old Trafford on a £74 million deal.

The price actually represented a rare example of United getting a decent price for an outgoing player, especially one who had lost his way at the club.

United got their money back but Conte reinvigorated Lukaku, and the Belgian scored 23 and then 24 goals in his two Serie A seasons under the Italian, winning the league title in 2020/21 before departing to rejoin Chelsea.

That same month, Conte loaned in Alexis Sanchez, removing that headache and financial burden from Solskjaer, before signing him the following season on a three-year deal.

Sanchez will likely never rediscover the same form he showed before his disappointing United move, but Conte got more of a tune out of him than Solskjaer – 11 league goals and 16 league assists across two seasons.

In January 2020, Conte brought Ashley Young to Italy from United on an initial six-month deal, which was then extended for another year as the Englishman played 26 times in that title-winning season.

Another United old-boy was also part of Inter’s title win. Matteo Darmian went to Parma from United, but Conte loaned him in October 2020, and he played the same number of games as Young en route to the title, as well as netting a shock Champions League goal.

Conte is likely looking to replicate that success with Lingard, which would also explain his willingness to be patient to get his man.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.