New Tottenham manager: Antonio Conte a no-go; Erik Ten Hag back in the frame? What we know so far

·7-min read
 (ES Composite)
(ES Composite)

Tottenham have ended their talks with Antonio Conte to leave their search for a new manager at an impasse.

For the second time in 18 months, Spurs are looking for a new boss. Just a few hours passed between Mauricio Pochettino‘s five-and-a-half-year reign ending and Jose Mourinho‘s 17-month reign beginning, but Spurs have taken their time with the next appointment.

Ryan Mason was installed as interim head coach until the end of the season, but chairman Daniel Levy is expected to make a higher-profile permanent choice for next season.

A host of names across Europe have been linked with Spurs looking into bringing Pochettino back to the club... but former Chelsea manager Conte will not be returning to London.

Here’s the latest on Tottenham’s next manager search...

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The profile

Tottenham flipped philosophy from Mauricio Pochettino’s expansive brand of football, on the front foot with a high press, to Jose Mourinho’s defensive-minded approach of sitting back, soaking up pressure and counter-attacking.

It is thought Daniel Levy is looking for someone more in the mould of Pochettino for his next appointment, though money is tight so no big name is expected to be holding up a Spurs scarf anytime soon.

Levy wants progressive football with a focus on bringing through younger talent, and the manager would currently have to work with a transfer committee regarding player signings, rather than have full say on who comes in and out.

Having discussed a lengthy selection of names based on the above criteria, Levy is now understood to have narrowed down the possible candidates to a shortlist ahead of starting talks with potential new managers.

The candidates

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Julian Nagelsmann

RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann was understood to be Tottenham’s first choice for the vacancy, the club having long held an interest in the 33-year-old which dates back to before Jose Mourinho’s time at the club.

However, turmoil a war of words between Bayern Munich and treble-winning head coach Hansi Flick has prompted the German giants into action. They quickly stumped up the reported £20million fee for Nagelsman to secure his services from the summer.

Flick has now been confirmed as a replacement for the outgoing Joachim Low as Germany head coach following Euro 2020.

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Brendan Rodgers

Another name with plenty of admirers in N17 is Brendan Rodgers. After success at both Liverpool, Celtic and currently Leicester City, the former Chelsea coach is considered among the best British managers in the game who offers an attractive brand of football.

However, Rodgers has moved to end any speculation over his future by insisting he has no interest in joining Spurs. Telling reporters: “Tottenham is a great club, one of the biggest clubs in Britain but for me I’m just in a really, really happy place in my life.

“I’m very happy here. I have huge respect here for the players, the board and I really feel that I want to continue my work here.

“I’ve got a really strong relationship with the board. We work very closely together. I’ve got a set of players that give me their heart and soul every single day and also I can see a future here in terms of the development of the squad.”

In any case, FA Cup winner Rodgers is understood to be on a big wage at the King Power Stadium and Levy being able to offer a similar package, while also continuing to pay the sacked Mourinho, is unclear.


Erik ten Hag

As such, Ajax’s Erik ten Hag was understood to be high up Levy’s list. The 51-year-old has won everything domestically with the Dutch giants and, with a little over 12 months to run on his contract, would command a smaller fee to lure to north London.

The Guardian reported that a meeting between Tottenham and Ten Hag was expected as Daniel Levy looked to wrap up an appointment before the summer, with Ten Hag open to discussions.

A move for Ten Hag looked off the cards when he signed a contract extension at Ajax. But the Mirror report that Ten Hag is back in the frame for the job after Spurs ended their interest in Conte.

 (APA/AFP via Getty Images)
(APA/AFP via Getty Images)

Ralph Rangnick

Another name in the frame is Ralph Rangnick, who is currently head of sport and development at Red Bull after two spells as manager at Leipzig.

He has been credited as influencing the likes of Nagelsmann and Jurgen Klopp and is credited with moulding the idea of Gegenpressing. However, he has not been directly involved in coaching for two years.

 (Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)
(Manchester City FC via Getty Ima)

Graham Potter

Graham Potter is understood to be of interest having impressed on the south coast with Brighton’s style of play, though may prove difficult to acquire from Brighton having signed a long-term contract which runs until 2025.

Albion deputy chairman and chief executive Paul Barber recently told The Argus: “We have no desire whatsoever to lose Graham. Graham is very happy here ... As far as we are concerned there is absolutely no way we would allow Graham to leave at this time.”

Potter echoed Barber’s comments last week, telling reporters: “We haven’t finished anything here, there’s a lot to do and I am really happy here. It’s nice to hear Paul say that, he doesn’t have to, but it’s nice.”

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Mauricio Pochettino

Who better to fit the mould of a ‘Mauricio Pochettino-type’ manager than the man himself.

Daniel Levy is looking into bringing the Argentine back, who has one year remaining on his contract at Paris Saint-Germain and is attracted to the possibility.

Pochettino’s possible return has reportedly reached the players, who are “excited” by the prospect, a possible ace up Levy’s sleeve amid the ongoing certainty over Harry Kane’s future.

Press Association add that Pochettino was in London, though it remains unclear in what capacity. The Independent, who first reported interest in a reunion, claim PSG do not want to lose Pochettino, meaning the head coach would likely need to resign to force an exit.

The Sun have gone further by claiming talks between Pochettino and Spurs will step up next week, with the manager ready to ask Kane to stay one more season.

Fresh reports from Goal on Sunday claim that Pochettino has now told PSG of his desire to leave, despite the club appearing to trigger an extension to his contract.

On Tuesday, talkSPORT claimed that Pochettino’s relationship with PSG sporting director Leonardo is now beyond repair and one of them will leave the club this summer, while Football.London said Pochettino has a real determination to return to Spurs.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Antonio Conte

The former Chelsea and Inter Milan manager had been in talks with Tottenham, but Standard Sport understands that Spurs have since ended their interest.

Spurs had been locked in talks with the out-of-work former Inter Milan and Chelsea coach, but have decided against making Conte an offer amid concerns over his demands, including a perceived reluctance to work with young players.

Reports in Italy suggested Conte had his own concerns over Tottenham’s ability to challenge for top trophies immediately, and was frustrated by the club refusing to allow him more than four members of coaching staff.

Sources at Spurs insist Conte’s demands proved unrealistic and he was ultimately deemed a poor fit for the club.

Spurs are pushing ahead with plans to appoint Fabio Paratici - who worked with Conte at Juventus - as director of football, but the breakdown in talks with the former Chelsea coach is the latest blow in their search for a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho, who was sacked on April 19.

Spurs could now make a final attempt to tempt Pochettino back, or turn to Ten Hag.

Anyone else?

 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

England manager Gareth Southgate and his Belgium counterpart Roberto Martinez have also been linked with the job, though neither are understood to be of interest.

Fulham’s Scott Parker, who left his coaching role at the club to move to Craven Cottage, has also been linked, while Rafa Benitez is an experienced, out-of-work coach. Massimiliano Allegri was re-hired by Juventus, meanwhile.

Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has confirmed he will be leaving the club at the end of the season, prompting his odds to tumble in the hours afterwards, but is understood to be a target for Crystal Palace and Everton.

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Antonio Conte to Tottenham OFF as Spurs end interest in former Chelsea FC, Inter Milan coach