Antonio Conte has responded to speculation that winger Steven Bergwijn could join Ajax in the January transfer window.
The Netherlands international joined Tottenham midway through the 2019/20 season, and endeared himself to his new fans when he scored a phenomenal goal against Manchester City on his debut.
But since then, Bergwijn has grabbed just three goals in a further 59 games for Spurs in all competitions.
He has been strongly linked with a return to his home country with Ajax in recent weeks, and Conte was asked what the future holds for Bergwijn in a press conference on Wednesday.
“We are talking about a player that has important skills,” he said. “It was a pity for me but not for the national team that he scored [during the November international break]. I would have liked to have had him during the two weeks of the international break to know him much better.
“But he has great quality – he’s great one-vs-one, very fast, great quality to beat the man and score.
“Now we are working, he is understanding what I want from him. For me he’s one of the three strikers, he can play in every three position for the strikers.
“He is a player I have to make an important evaluation but he is in our squad and I count on him. [Against Brentford on Thursday] he’s ready and available. Against Mura he had a problem and otherwise he should have played, but tomorrow he’s available.”
While Conte was bullish about the idea of selling players in January, he was similarly reluctant to even discuss the notion of signing players next month.
“Honestly, when I decided to become Tottenham manager, I didn’t speak about this aspect,” he said regarding transfers.
“Also because I think that when you take a job, you have to make your evaluation. You have to feel your sensation and honestly I felt that Tottenham was the right club to work, to bring my idea of football, my philosophy.
“For that reason I accepted the job, but I didn’t talk about January or ways to improve the team. I repeat – I’m here because I have great enthusiasm, I have great passion to start new work with Tottenham.
“If I’m here, [it means] I want to build something important with the club. I know in this moment we are a bit far from [being] a top club but we need to work to improve the situation.
“To create a good base, and then you build. We can do this and our fans have to support us because the moment is not simple. But I have great enthusiasm, great passion and I believe here we can build something important. We need time and patience but I have great desire to do something great in this club.”