Nuno Espirito Santo sacked as Tottenham sound out Antonio Conte in manager hunt live – latest reaction
Tottenham Hotspur are in talks with Antonio Conte over a dramatic return to management after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo.
And, although negotiations with Conte broke down in June, there is confidence that Spurs can successfully pull off what would represent a huge coup for the club.
Former Chelsea manager Conte always maintained that his decision to turn down Spurs was not financial and there is a feeling the timing may now be better for him to return to the Premier League.
Nuno was formally sacked by Spurs on Monday following crisis talks on Sunday and Telegraph Sport understands negotiations with Conte are already at an advanced stage.
Announcing Nuno’s departure on Monday morning, a Tottenham statement said: “The club can today announce that Nuno Espírito Santo and his coaching staff Ian Cathro, Rui Barbosa and Antonio Dias have been relieved of their duties.”
Fabio Paratici, Tottenham’s managing director, football, said: “I know how much Nuno and his coaching staff wanted to succeed and I regret that we have had to take this decision.
“Nuno is a true gentleman and will always be welcome here. We should like to thank him and his coaching staff and wish them well for the future.”
A lack of attacking output has not been limited to Kane, with Spurs scoring only nine goals in 10 games. Only Norwich have scored fewer, three after Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Leeds, while they now match the Canaries for the fewest total shots with 103 according to the official Premier League website. Son’s four goals make him a creditable exception but Lucas Moura, Steven Bergwijn, Dele Alli and summer signing Bryan Gil have one league goal and one assist between them – a combined return matched by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg alone.
Key striker Harry Kane was the subject of summer interest from Manchester City and made little attempt to disguise his interest in a move, while his eventual statement that he would be “staying at Tottenham this summer” was hardly a binding long-term commitment. Last season, he and Son Heung-min formed one of the Premier League’s most dangerous ever partnerships and Kane led the league in both goals and assists. This term, he has only one of each after nine appearances and has taken only 19 total shots, with 10 on target.
A prolonged 72-day search for Jose Mourinho’s successor saw Nuno initially discounted in favour of the likes of Antonio Conte, Gennaro Gattuso and their much-loved former boss Mauricio Pochettino. Chairman Daniel Levy reconsidered only after repeatedly failing to secure those other candidates, weakening Nuno in public perceptions from the start as even an opening three-match winning run failed to quell supporters’ concerns. When those results did not continue, his position quickly became insecure.
Nuno was only hired in the summer after a drawn out managerial search saw Tottenham fail to land a number of candidates.
So, who will club chairman Daniel Levy and managing director Fabio Paratici target this time?
A fine tactician and forceful personality, the Italian has a knack of ending successful stints by falling out with those above him. The 52-year-old’s first big managerial break came at Juventus, who he led to three Serie A titles. Conte went on to mastermind Chelsea’s Premier League win in 2016-17 and the following season’s FA Cup success, before returning to management with Inter Milan and taking them to last season’s Serie A crown. He left in the summer. It remains to be seen if Tottenham could convince him to take the job after talks broke down in the summer over the Italian’s demands.
The former Roma boss was heavily linked with Spurs in the summer and his wife suggested on Instagram that the family were ready to move to London. Despite that falling through, the north London club could go back for the Portuguese, who has also managed Shakhtar Donetsk. Levy would have to move quick, though, with the 48-year-old also linked with the vacant Newcastle job.
Potter continues to receive praise for the job he has done at Brighton, who sit above Tottenham in the Premier League table. The former Ostersunds and Swansea boss has been linked with a move to a club with more resources than Brighton, but Spurs may struggle to convince Potter to leave his ongoing project on the south coast mid-season.
Tottenham could look to the continent and Porto’s boss Conceicao. The former Portugal international has won two league titles with the club and has them sitting top of the table this season. The 46-year-old impressed with his side’s run to the quarter-finals in last season’s Champions League, when they knocked out Juventus, and could be ready to move on.
Former Spurs midfielder Parker has made a flying start to his time at Bournemouth. After leaving Fulham following their relegation from the Premier League, Parker switched to the Cherries, who sit top of the second tier – five points clear of his former team in second. A manager whose top-flight experience involves two relegations may not ordinarily excite Spurs fans, but his past spell as both a player and coach in north London would make him more appealing.
A Pochettino return was explored in the summer, but he remained with Paris St Germain who have since added Lionel Messi to their squad. The man who led Spurs to their only Champions League final is highly unlikely to leave the French capital mid season, but if Levy and Paratici are patient and stay with a caretaker until the end of the campaign, they could look to secure an emotional reunion in time for next season.
Tottenham Hotspur have made a fresh bid to find out whether or not Antonio Conte could be persuaded to return to management after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo.
Nuno was formally sacked by Spurs on Monday following crisis talks on Sunday and Telegraph Sport understands attention has quickly turned to who could replace the Portuguese.
Conte turned down the Tottenham job following talks in the summer, but that has not stopped the club making another effort to see if the Italian could be convinced to take on the project.
Despite the breakdown in talks in June, Conte and Spurs remained on good terms thanks in part to the relationship he shares with the club’s managing director of football, Fabio Paratici, who also worked at Juventus.
Paratici will need all of his powers of persuasion to convince Conte that the Tottenham project is right for him, given the Italian wants to be sure that his next job will offer him the chance to add to his glittering CV of trophies.
Conte won the league title at Juventus, Chelsea and, most recently, Inter Milan and is rightly rated one of the best coaches of his generation.
The 52 year-old has been linked with the Manchester United job, but United’s 3-0 victory over Spurs that pushed Nuno to the brink of being sacked may have bought Ole Gunnar Solskjaer more time.
If Paratici and Tottenham cannot tempt Conte back into work, then the club may be forced to reconsider the merits of Paulo Fonseca or consider alternatives like Porto manager Sergio Conceicao.
Tottenham are well aware that their next appointment will be absolutely vital and that under-performing players cannot be given another excuse.
It is likely that Tottenham will have initially placed Nuno on gardening leave and will continue to pay him his monthly salary rather than shell-out an immediate lump-sum compensation package. The former Wolverhampton Wanderers manager was four months into a two-year contract.