Antonio Conte is hoping to make a key backroom addition at Tottenham with talks ongoing for set piece coach Gianni Vio.
Tottenham have made swift moves in the transfer market, with Yves Bissouma, Fraser Forster, and Ivan Perisic already through the door. Reports suggest discussions are also being held with Everton over a move for Brazil international Richarlison, with Harry Winks a potential makeweight in a deal.
However, it is not just on the pitch where Conte is striving to make improvements in north London. Football London claims the club are in reached ‘advanced talks’ with former Italian national team set-piece specialist Vio, although a deal is not said to be ‘imminent’.
Set pieces represent a clear area for improvement for Tottenham, with only Manchester United out of the so-called ‘Big Six’ scoring less than the eight goals registered by Conte’s side last season. Premier League champions Manchester City and Liverpool led the way, netting 21 and 19 strikes respectively.
Conte’s desire to bring in a set-piece specialist will see Tottenham mirror the approach which has already paid dividends for Arsenal. Arteta oversaw the appointment of the club’s first ever chief set-piece coach in Andreas Georgson.
The former Brentford coach joined the Gunners in 2020 but left after a year, and was replaced by another former Bees’ backroom staff member in Nicolas Jover. Arteta had already worked alongside Jover during his time as Guardiola’s assistant at City.
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The impact was almost instant, as Arsenal improved their set-piece record in both the defensive and attacking thirds. The Gunners became one of the leading Premier League sides in terms of scoring from dead-ball situations as well as conceding from set plays.
The 69-year-old tailors his methods to the strength of individual players, and detailed his meticulous approach in an interview with Italian newspaper La Nuova di Veneziavia the Guardian. Vio said: “You need to analyse the players you have and find solutions tailor-made to their skillset. There are players whose reading of the game is special.
“At the highest level, Sergio Ramos comes to mind. Wherever you put the ball, you can bet he’ll find a way to get on the end of it. Timing is the most important thing when it comes to finishing off a set-piece.”
Vio was lauded for his work with Roberto Mancini’s side at Euro 2020, and is said to have concocted 4,830 different routines for corners and free-kicks. He has previously enjoyed spells working with AC Milan, Brentford, Fiorentina and Leeds United.
The former banker first stepped into coaching in the Italian lower leagues, and it was his website and book That Extra 30 Per Cent which brought him to the attention of former national team goalkeeper Walter Zenga. Vio joined Catania in 2008, and was praised as the team scored 17 of their 44 league goals from set-pieces to avoid relegation.
Arsenal’s change in mindset was recently summed up by goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale, who recently told the Peter Crouch Podcast: “We’re very into defending corners, attacking corners and set-pieces. That’s expected goals for and against from set-pieces and we have a set-piece coach who is hard on us and sets targets.”