Antonio Conte demands Tottenham solve long-standing Harry Kane transfer problem

Kane was called into action in the FA Cup on Sunday
(Image: AFP via Getty Images)

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"I think that especially in this league, because the level is very high and you have to play a lot of games, if you want to have ambition, to be competitive, to fight for something important, you have to have 20 [outfield] players. Two players in every role," Conte told media ahead of Spurs' Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea..

"For sure, as a coach it’s very difficult to decide to keep Harry on the bench, but at the same time, when you play the way we played in the last period – six games in 17 days – every coach has to have the possibility to make rotations and don’t drop so much the level."

Spurs attempted to provide competition for Kane last season with the loan signing of Carlos Vinicius, but the Brazilian started just three league games all season and wasn't brought in on a permanent basis when the season ended.

Spurs have brought in a number of strikers in recent years, but none have been of the standard required to serve as a regular rotation option.

Vincent Janssen and Fernando Llorente arrived at a combined cost of around £30m, but the pair made just 14 Premier League starts for the club between them.

"You have to know that if you want to be competitive, you need a couple of players for every role," Conte said.

"Between the player who usually plays, and the other player, the gap has to be not so big in every role. This is a problem for all the teams."

Vincent Janssen was unable to provide the desired competition to Kane
(Image: X01095)

While Kane's 12 goals make him Spurs' top scorer in all competitions this term, he is behind Son Heung-min in the league standings with four goals to the South Korean's eight.

However, when asked about alternatives to Kane within the current squad, he suggested Steven Bergwijn could be the best fit if Spurs are unable to find a new central striker in the January window.

"He has the right characteristics to play as a number nine," Conte said of the Dutch international, who has been linked with a move to Ajax.

"I think it’s not simple to find a specific number nine, but if you’re unable to find a situation to buy players for the moment you want to rest Harry, you can take the best decision to play with a good player."