Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte ‘tried’ to lure Marcelo Brozovic away from Serie A champions Inter Milan and to the Premier League, Italian journalist Fabrizio Biasin tells Telalombardia.
Shortly after taking over at the San Siro, Conte insisted that his Croatian international playmaker had the potential to become a truly ‘world-class’ central midfielder.
Two years later, when arguably the greatest club manager in European football rode off into the Milanese sunset, he could consider Operation Brozovic mission very much accomplished.
Brozovic might not hog the headlines like Inter team-mates Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez but he is the glue that holds this Nerazzuri side together; The string-pulling, tempo-setting orchestrator laying down the beats of their Scudetto-winning song.
And, much to the delight of Conte’s successor Simone Inzaghi, the Zagreb-born 29-year-old has put an end to any lingering speculation over his future by signing a new deal until 2026 in March.
Inzaghi’s gain is Conte’s loss, even if the signing of Rodrigo Bentancur has offset the need for another midfield maestro.
“I can say that (Conte) tried for Brozovic,” explains Biasin. “Tottenham made his attempt with him. But Brozovic, a man of his word, said he wanted to stay and did so by signing the renewal.
“He had Newcastle, Barcelona and Tottenham (interested in him). Barcelona had offered him eight million euros a season.”
Barca were not the only club who offered Brozovic an eye-watering contract.
According to TMW, one of the game’s most underrated central midfielders turned down a £115,000-a-week offer from a Newcastle United side flexing their new-found financial muscles following that Saudi Arabian takeover in the autumn.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are believed to be willing to offer a transfer fee of £21 million.
Brozovic is not the only member of Inter’s Scudetto-winning squad who’s been tipped to reunite with Conte in North London.
Tottenham’s interest in penalty-box poacher extraordinaire Lautaro Martinez is well-documented, while Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij and ball-playing centre-half Alessandro Bastoni have all been mentioned.