Tottenham’s search for new manager hits buffers as top targets exclude each other
Daniel Levy’s search for Tottenham Hotspur’s next permanent manager is at risk of falling into a farce after Erik ten Hag became the last man to go out.
Ten Hag signed a contract extension with Ajax shortly after having talks with Spurs, sources differ as to which side decided not to move the Dutchman to London.
Whether it’s Ten Hag or Tottenham who have taken a step back, President Levy is now under enormous pressure to find the right man to succeed Jose Mourinho after a week of setbacks.
Main target Julian Nagelsmann has accepted an offer to become Bayern Munich coach, while Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers has left the race and is expected to stay out of Tottenham’s reach.
Ten Hag was high on the list of alternatives, with Levy now having to consider whether or not to turn to Ralf Rangnick, Roberto Martinez or even Scott Parker.
Graham Potter has been linked in dispatches with the Spurs post, but the 45-year-old is reportedly focused on moving Brighton away from the danger of Premier League relegation.
Levy is already facing protests from fans over Tottenham’s inclusion and withdrawal from the European Super League and saw the club lose the Carabao Cup final to Manchester City – after which Harry Kane reiterated his desire to win some trophies.
Given the difficult position the club find themselves in at the moment, Levy cannot afford to miss any more of his goals. Here, Sport Telegraph look at what Tottenham want, who they wanted, who they could go for now and who might be interested in the job.
What does Tottenham want?
Levy wants a progressive manager who will play attractive football and try to bring the feel-good factor back to Tottenham. Mourinho’s style of football was not popular with many club fans and some players, and the new manager will be responsible for putting smiles on faces. He is also expected to continue offering chances to young players and making the most of the big names at Tottenham.
Who did they want?
Gallery: Gareth Southgate’s England First Team – Where Are They Now? (Wire rack)
Naglesmann had been Tottenham’s first choice to replace Mourinho, but he has been confirmed as Bayern Munich’s next coach. Rodgers was also top of Levy’s roster, but he is preparing for an FA Cup final with Leicester City, who, unlike Spurs, remain on track to qualify for the Champions League.
Rodgers has distanced himself from work and it is understood that he remains out of the club’s reach. Ten Hag appeared at the top of a list of alternatives to Tottenham’s top two picks and the interest certainly didn’t hurt him as on Friday he signed a contract extension at Ajax which included a healthy increase from salary.
Regarding Tottenham’s interest in him, ten Hag said: “I don’t want to rule out that this could have happened, but I know what I have here (at Ajax). I know who I’m working with, I know what the ideas are, I know what goals we have. I am happy here. This is where my head and my heart are. “
Is there anyone else who could turn Spurs away?
Graham Potter has been linked to the post and he would meet the criteria of a progressive coach who enjoys playing attractive football. But he is on a long contract at Brighton, working for stable owners and the club have a plan, which he is carrying out with their full support. Potter’s first priority is to remove Brighton from the danger of relegation from the Premier League and start planning for the next season.
Who could they turn to now?
Tottenham fans are hoping Levy has a trick up his sleeve, but his realistic options are starting to look slightly limited. Ralf Rangnick is a manager the club have watched in the past, before appointing Andre Villas-Boas, and the German is currently out of work. But Rangnick, having also worked as a director of football, is a manager who would like to have a say in all aspects of football at the club and who might not like Levy.
Former Spurs midfielder Scott Parker has won admirers for the work he does at Fulham, even though the club are on the verge of being relegated from the Premier League, while former Everton manager Roberto Martinez, responsible for the Belgian national team, could be an option although he can only start working after the European Championships. Italian sources have linked Max Allegri with a return to Juventus.
Is anyone interested in the job?
Martinez is reportedly interested in a return to club management after the Euros and is said to be interested in the Tottenham job, while Rafa Benitez would like to manage in the Premier League again. But Benitez is not known for his progressive and attractive style and Spurs fans might not want another former Chelsea manager, albeit an interim manager.
It would also count for Maurizio Sarri, who is expected to return to Roma management. Former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick is said to be interested in the Spurs job, despite being linked to the German national team job, but Tottenham, so far, do not appear to have shared that interest.
Are there any strangers?
Marcelo Bielsa would, in many ways, be a perfect fit for Tottenham and he has yet to sign a new contract at Leeds United. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Spurs checked his situation and plans, but it would be a big surprise if Bielsa decided to trade Leeds for Tottenham this summer.
Are Tottenham at risk of becoming a laughing stock?
The jokes are already circulating in various WhatsApp groups, the latest being: Zoran Mamic, the former Dinamo Zagreb manager, has rejected an approach from Tottenham Hotspur. The club had asked him to fill the vacant managerial post, but he decided he would prefer to remain imprisoned in Croatia.
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