Tottenham appoint Nuno Espirito Santo as chaotic search for new manager finally ends

·3-min read
 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

Tottenham have finally ended their search for a new head-coach with the appointment of former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

Nuno, who has been out of work since leaving Wolves by mutual consent at the end of the season, has agreed a two-year deal with Spurs until 2023.

His appointment brings to an end a protracted and often chaotic 72-day search for a successor to Jose Mourinho, who was sacked on April 19 after a slump in form since December.

Nuno is the latest recommendation of the club's incoming manager director Fabio Paratici after Spurs ended talks with Paulo Fonseca and Gennaro Gattuso earlier this month, and discussions with Antonio Conte broke down.

Nuno said: “When you have a squad with quality and talent, we want to make the fans proud and enjoy. It’s an enormous pleasure and honour (to be here), there’s joy and I’m happy and looking forward to starting work. We don’t have any days to lose and we must start working immediately as pre-season starts in a few days.”

Paratici arrived in London on Tuesday ahead of officially taking up his new position on July 1, and the club finalised a deal with Nuno mid-morning Wednesday after face-to-face talks.

The 47-year-old was initially not a candidate when he left Molineux on May 23, with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy instead prioritising other targets.

The club held talks with Ajax coach Erik ten Hag and Hansi Flick, who is to be Germany's new head coach, and unsuccessfully attempted to prize Mauricio Pochettino back to the club from Paris Saint-Germain.

Fabio Paratici, Tottenham’s new managing director of football (Getty Images)
Fabio Paratici, Tottenham’s new managing director of football (Getty Images)

The appointment of Paratici prompted a change in direction and Fonseca had agreed a deal in principle before the club pulled the plug, while supporters campaigned on social media against Gattuso's appointment after the club held talks with the controversial former Italy international.

Nuno, who won the Uefa Cup and Champions League under Mourinho at Porto, was considered by Everton and Crystal Palace previously.

He guided Wolves to the Premier League and established them as a top-flight club, although his counter-punching style has drawn comparisons with Mourinho and appears at odds with Levy's preference for a coach who will promote "free-flowing, attacking" football.

Levy moved to allay fears about Nuno’s style, insisting he had faith the new boss could build “something special” at the club.

“I’ve spoken already about the need to revert back to our core DNA of playing attacking, entertaining football and Fabio and I believe Nuno is the man who can take our talented group of players, embrace our young players coming through and build something special,” said the chairman.

Paratici also referenced the club’s values and said Nuno’s time at Wolves proved he is adaptable.

“The brief for this appointment has always been clear, we wanted a Head Coach that can instil all the values that are important to this football club,” Paratici said.

“You only have to look at Nuno’s time at Wolves to see his ability to take a group of players and implement an adaptive style that brings success and allows players to develop and thrive. We are all looking forward to getting started in what we hope will be a successful time with the club.”

He arrives with the club facing a season in the inaugural UEFA Conference League and with talisman and star player Harry Kane eager to leave after the European Championship with England.

He will need to begin rebuilding an unbalanced and stale squad with Levy and Paratici, and ultimately be tasked with returning Spurs to the Champions League.

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