Antonio Conte is Italian. And what do Italians like more than feisty Catholic women, Gorgonzola [Blue Stilton] cheese, and hand gestures? If you answered ‘the Pope’, you’d be close, but no tiramisu. A tight defence, a tight defence is the answer, dear reader. And our boy, Tony is losing all the pristine-ness his hometown Lecce, [scenic city situated at the heel of Italy] imbued him with, and might have been forgiven for losing a shoe or two following his charges’ defensive displays against the likes of Liverpool and then, a shameful showing vs London rivals.
It’s no wonder then that the serial Serie A winner is looking far and wide for reinforcement and semblance of solidity that he takes pride in. What’s surprising is though, is the fact that The Mirror would have us believe that Conte is looking as far as 4 hours and 12 minutes away down the M6 and M40 to Burnley’s ex- Manchester United wonder-kid, Michael Keane, from right under the noses of Leicester City.
T4O, sceptical of this link, looks at the qualities of 23-year-old, and does the wondering for you, on whether he’s good enough.
#1 Smooth Criminal
Michael, as his namesake, is a smooth operator in between the lines of defence. While he’s predominantly a left-footer, he’s quite a technician on the ball [forgive the Brodgerism], he’d be equally at home on either side of the backline. He’s one who doesn’t like to get his shorts dirty, and opts to stay on his feet when he challenges his man, looking to come forward to nip the attack in the bud before it branches out and goes for the throat, like Poison Ivy sentient vines in Batman: Hush. His composure on the ball is coupled with his penchant to pass the ball out of defence whenever possible – passes that turn defence into attack.
#2 Complete Package
There isn’t quite a glaring chink in the armour that we could focus on, having seen him play for the past two years. A well-rounded presence in the back, emphatic in the air [having half-a-dozen goals in him in a good season], and has a pervading sense of calmness he dissipates among his teammates – two qualities Conte’s team has still to realise.
#3 Round Pegs In Round Hole
Conte is most likely to revert to his favourite 3-5-2 formation that won him 5 back to back to back to back to back Serie A titles. Acquiring Michael Keane, one of the better young English defenders at the moment, and certainly, one of most versatile among the current crop would go a long way for the Italian to finally attain that vision.