Spurs completed a move worth an initial £12.5million for Spence, who agreed a five-year deal in north London on Tuesday, with chairman Daniel Levy understood to have led the negotiations with Middlesbrough.
A hallmark of Levy’s chairmanship has been targeting the best young players from the Football League — with Gareth Bale, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon among Spurs’ many success stories — and Spence, 21, is a notably different profile to the club’s other five summer signings, who are all full internationals.
“Spence is an investment of the club,” Conte told reporters in South Korea last week. “The club wanted to do it. I said okay, this player is young but he showed he can become a good, important player for us. The club decided to buy him.”
Conte added that he was happy with the club’s other business this summer, which has been led by managing director Fabio Paratici.
Spence, who could eventually cost £19m with add-ons, takes Spurs’ spending to close to the £100m mark but they are expected to recoup at least that amount on outgoings, with Paratici currently in Italy in bid to sell unwanted players.
“The club was very clear with me and said we reached an important achievement and … now we want to continue to grow. To grow together with ambition,” Conte said.
“For the club, it has not been simple to go into the transfer market and sign players for free — like (Ivan) Perisic and (Fraser) Forster — and sign players on loan — like (Clement) Lenglet — and sign players with money — like Richarlison and (Yves) Bissouma and Spence.”
Conte consistently refused to be drawn on his own future last season but finally agreed to stay on as head coach following a meeting with Paratici a week after he guided the club back into the Champions League on the final day of the campaign.
He is under contract until next summer after signing an 18-month deal in November but again refused to commit long-term, while insisting he is “very happy” and aligned with Levy and Paratici.
“You know, football is always very strange,” he said. “But in this moment I am very happy to stay at Tottenham. I am very happy to work with this group of players, to work with the club. We don’t have a problem and we are trying to create a great group also outside of the pitch with the club.
“In this moment, we have only one target: to go together in the same direction. I think we are doing well with Daniel and with Fabio.”