Antonio Conte reportedly gave a brutal rebuttal when Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy suggested signing Chelsea hero Eden Hazard. The Italian has overseen his first week in charge of Spurs and will soon enter the January transfer window.
Levy is likely to give Conte a big transfer budget to improve his squad despite predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo spending vast amounts in the summer.
Nuno was sacked nearly a fortnight ago, with his failure to get the best out of some of those signings a contributing factor to his dismissal.
Conte has a win and a draw from his opening two matches but will likely want new signings to boost his chances of qualifying for Europe.
Spurs are apparently keeping tabs on the Belgium international, too. However, Conte, who worked with Hazard for two years at Chelsea, told Levy that he does not want the forward.
Spanish journalist Edouardo Inda has revealed that Conte gave a scathing assessment of the 30-year-old when his name was put forward.
“Daniel Levy would like to sign a Real Madrid player, but one who is always injured,” Inda told El Chiringuito.
“He wanted to sign Eden Hazard, but Conte has told him ‘no’ because he knows him from when he coached Chelsea and says that he has little intensity and that he is not a very hard worker.”
After the Everton game, Conte said: “After we play the game Thursday (against Vitesse) and I have to be happy because I started to see some tactical situations for sure we can improve and we have a lot of space for improvement. In different situations, tactically, physically but also the mentality.
“[Against Everton] I have seen the heart of my players, the passion, the will to fight, the will to sacrifice, the will to understand that there was a moment very, very difficult for us and to see this type of reaction make me more confident for the future.
“Sometimes you can teach to our players the tactical aspects and improve your players’ physical aspects but the heart, the passion, the will, the intensity, you have or not.
“My players are showing me these aspects and that we are in a good position and it is a good point to start for me.”