Antonio Conte forced into transfer rethink after crucial change in last-gasp Tottenham win


Antonio Conte forced into transfer rethink after crucial change in last-gasp Tottenham win

Only Harry Kane will know how he did not walk off King Power Stadium pitch at the interval with a first-half hat-trick. But at the very least, the

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Only Harry Kane will know how he did not walk off King Power Stadium pitch at the interval with a first-half hat-trick. But at the very least, the 28-year-old could console himself with scoring his 250th career goal — and the Tottenham striker’s return to form suggests Antonio Conte no longer has to concern himself with his striker problems after a stunning last-gasp 3-2 win over Leicester City.

The Italian tactician would have been scratching his head as to how his side were hurtling towards defeat after seeing his side dominate for large periods of the game against Leicester.

Goals from Patson Daka and James Maddison either side of Kane’s effort proved the difference to put the Foxes 2-1 up before super sub Steven Bergwijn struck a double in stoppage time to clinch a dramatic turnaround. 

Prior to their visit to the Midlands, Spurs were sixth in the table and had the opportunity to close the gap on Arsenal and West Ham in the race for the top four, with several games in hand to play.

Without the injured Heung-min Son, Conte would have needed Kane back to his best. The striker’s troubles had been evident this season, with only three goals in 16 appearances for Spurs.

Talk of a £120m move to Manchester City dominated his summer. But while it is clear that while speculation over his future has dissipated, Kane’s form in front of goal is yet to return.

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With a point to prove, Kane would have the perfect opportunity to silence his critics and show the world that striker feared by opposition defenders is back firing on all cylinders.

There are few places in the Premier League where he has been more potent than the King Power Stadium, having scored eight times in his previous seven games at the venue.

Add in the fact he has scored an incredible 15 goals in just 12 Premier League appearances against the Foxes and it seemed he was destined to find the net to continue his impressive run.

It took only eight minutes for his first chance to arrive.

Kane jinxed past one defender and unleashed a fierce a low effort that looked destined for the far post, only for Luke Thomas to heroically hack it clear off the line.

That chance appeared to give Kane some much-needed confidence as he began linking up with Lucas Moura up front, with Spurs dominant in the early stages.

The England international perhaps underlined his struggles or lack of fortune in front of goal when he met a corner delivery from Harry Winks and thumped the crossbar with a bullet header from six yards out.

Spurs were made to pay for failing to take their chances when Patson Daka squeezed home past Hugo Lloris at the near post and the momentum of the game changed.

It was only a matter of time before he would get his name on the scoresheet as Spurs weathered the storm and began creating chances again.

After being sent through down the right by Winks, he intelligently cut back in on his left side, causing Caglar Soyuncu to lose his footing, and calmly rolled his left-footed effort in off the far post past Kasper Schmeichel.

Only minutes later, Kane could have doubled his tally, racing away from Jannik Vestergaard and clean on goal, only to blaze over from the edge of the box.

Still, it is difficult to recall a game where Kane has not only been so involved in the build-up play but been so willing to shoot. In the first half alone, he had five attempts on goal.

The striker would be the first to admit that he has had a tendency of drifting through games, especially under Nuno Espirito Santo. But under Conte’s management, he is rediscovering his passion for scoring goals and it proved so with an emphatic celebration after clinching his 250th career strike.

Spurs have been linked with a move for strikers in January, notably Fiorentina’s £60m-rated striker Dusan Vlahovic, as Conte looks to add more firepower to his attack.

But Kane’s latest display indicates that he is gradually returning back to his peak performance level — and that can only spell good news for Conte, as he no longer needs to spend exorbitant amounts of money on a new forward.

Otherwise, there still areas to address in the transfer window, and those were laid bare by the fact Leicester were able to put them to the sword with two swift counter-attacks through Daka and Maddison.

But Bergwijn’s stunning double at the death and Kane’s return to the scoresheet show Conte no longer has to worry about the attack at least as he attempts to secure a top four spot and Champions League qualification.