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10th Mar 2023

Four coaches that could replace Antonio Conte at Spurs

Simon Kelly

Next tottenham manager

Here are the contenders to replace Conte.

Antonio Conte’s tenure at Tottenham Hotspur looks to be almost over. Spurs have had a terrible week which has compounded a miserable season for the north London club and their Italian manager.

First, a second string Sheffield United knocked them out of the FA Cup. They followed that with a loss to relegation-threatened Wolves. Finally, Conte’s team limped out of the Champions League in a despairing 0-0 draw with an average AC Milan side.

It looks like the ex-Chelsea manager will be out the door pretty soon, as the Italian’s contract up in the summer and no talk of a renewal.

Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, and director of football Fabio Paratici, will want to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing managerial search post-José Mourinho in 2021.

Yet, it won’t be easy. Here are the possible contenders to take over from Conte, starting with a very familiar face.

Mauricio Pochettino.

The Argentinian coach remains a Spurs legend.

“Deep in my chest, in my soul, in my heart, I am sure our way will cross again. From the day that I left the club my dream is to one day be back and to try to finish the work we didn’t finish,” Pochettino said shortly after his departure following five-and-a-half years at the club.

Taking Spurs from where they were in 2013 to title contenders and Champions League finalists was the stuff of dreams when the Argentine took over. But he soon made it a reality, while building one of the most exciting brands of football in Europe. Ultimately it all burned out, but once he left, the question of “what if?” loomed large.

Having been starved of good football and a manager that actually cares (Sorry, Nuno, you did not make Spurs fans proud) for nearly five years now, it’s no wonder fans are looking in the direction of Poch.

It may not work, especially with the influential Paratici at the club (Poch famously wanted more power during his time at Spurs, and a director of football could spark friction) but it almost seems destined to happen.

Thomas Tuchel.

Spurs are also considering an egotistical ex-Chelsea manager. Sound familiar? If Levy was to appoint Tuchel it would be the third ex-Chelsea manager in four years, something that may rub the fans up the wrong way and seems destined to end in more tears. But hey, Levy is not your average chairman and the German is reportedly someone he’s sounding out as Conte’s successor.

Tuchel admittedly plays a more modern style of play than Conte or Mourinho, but another big-name “winning” manager who doesn’t tend to stick around long may not be a route they want to embark on again.

Luis Enrique.

If we’re going on vibes only, Luis Enrique would probably be top of the list. The Barcelona legend who most recently oversaw Spain’s disappointing exit from the World Cup in Qatar would immediately become a fan favourite. Known for his passion, no-nonsense managerial style and his quirky eccentricities (he famously streamed live on Twitch during the World Cup), Enrique is definitely a solid choice for Tottenham.

There are, as always, caveats. Enrique’s possession-based style of play is strictly non-negotiable and anyone that questions it will be out on their arse. He’s fallen out with many a coaching staff and is one of the most stubborn managers in the modern game. He is also, however, one of the most decorated, so who are we to argue? Paratici is said to be a big fan, so we could well see Lucho on the sidelines of the Tottenham Hotspur stadium next season.

Roberto De Zerbi.

Graham Potter who? De Zerbi’s short stint at Brighton is one of the many astute acquisitions at one of the best-run clubs in the Premier League. The Italian is already being sounded out by a multitude of big European clubs. One of them, you guessed it, is Spurs, who are said to be fans of De Zerbi’s managerial style, but who isn’t?

De Zerbi, Relatively new to the league, would still be quite a risk but he does tick a lot of boxes that Spurs fans are crying out for. Grabbing him from Brighton is another conversation, with the 43-year-old tied down to a very recently signed four-year contract.

Also, why would he want to go? Brighton are flying and you only have to look at the last ex-Brighton manager to see that things don’t always work out.

Brendan Rodgers

The other options.

The names above are the ones that are reportedly most favoured by Spurs but there are some others that pop up. Thomas Frank of Brentford is said to have fans at Spurs. The Danish manager has been excellent since he arrived at the club, bringing them up to the top-flight for the first time in over 75 years.

Leicester City coach Brendan Rogers is never too far from the conversation and was a big favourite to take over the club in 2021, although his stock may have fallen slightly since. Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper also has admirers at Spurs but all of these options seem like a bit more of a risk than Levy might be able to currently handle.

Who should it be?

Looking back though rose-tinted glasses can be dangerous and Spurs fans may easily forget how badly it all ended with Pochettino. But it’s hard not to tempt fate and the cuddly Argentinian manager may be just the tonic fans need right now. He is someone who cares deeply about the club and can bring harmony to a pretty fractious fanbase.

The popular appointment will almost certainly give Levy some desperately-needed brownie points too, so despite some pretty logical reservations, it seems a no-brainer.

Luis Enrique would also excite a lot of fans and the manager’s character perfectly suits what Spurs need. However, his appointment would require an almost entire squad overhaul, poor Eric Dier wouldn’t stand a chance.

Ultimately, it is time for Spurs and Pochettino to ignore the common phrase “you should never get back with your ex”. The time is right to kiss and make up and give him the support he needs to be successful.

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