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‘Really good prospects’ – The reason why Conte performed big U-turn on £15m Tottenham man

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Antonio Conte blocked Pape Matar Sarr’s Tottenham Hotspur exit after an injury to Rodrigo Bentancur, a relative of the £15 million Premier League youngster tells the Senegalese Press (via HITC).

Heading into the final few days of the window, Cremonese’s general director Pablo Armenia claimed that the Serie A newcomers had ‘an agreement in principle’ to sign the former Metz starlet on loan for the 2022/23 season.

That was, however, until Rodrigo Bentancur pulled up during Spurs’ 2-0 victory away at Nottingham Forest.

Fortunately, the all-action Argentine wouldn’t be out for long. After missing the midweek draw with West Ham, Bentancur was back in the team for Fulham on Saturday. But his absence at the London Stadium – coupled with Harry Winks’ exit and Oliver Skipp’s ongoing absence – obviously spooked Conte enough for the Tottenham boss to ki-bosh Cremonese’s hopes of luring Sarr to Italy.

“With Bentancur’s injury, the coach has decided not to let him go,” says a relative of the 19-year-old Senegal international.

“He was forced to revise his plans with this injury to his Argentinian midfielder. The Spurs coach wanted to make sure that (Sarr) will have playing time and will grow tactically. Now, Pape Matar must fight to win (his place) in this squad.”

Sarr, a £15 million signing from Metz in August 2021, has not yet made a Premier League appearance under Conte, even if he was included in the matchday squad in Bentancur’s absence at West Ham.

There will, however, be opportunities for the likes of Sarr, Bryan Gil and Japhet Tanganga. The Premier League is not the only task on Tottenham’s agenda, after all.

“We are talking about really good prospects. Young players,” explains Conte. “They have to work like (Djed) Spence to develop. And then to be ready to be Tottenham players for the future.

“Young players, good prospects. But, at the same time, we need to have players ready to play Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, and Carabao Cup.”

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