Leicester: Brendan Rodgers responds to Tottenham speculation
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Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is facing a monumental decision ahead of next season that could have significant ramifications with regards to the club’s immediate future. The controversial 59-year-old will need to find a top-class replacement for recently departed boss Jose Mourinho, who was sacked just six days before Spurs were beaten in the Carabao Cup final by Premier League champions-elect Manchester City on Sunday.
The north London outfit have endured a torrid run of form since the turn of the year, falling well adrift of the race for Champions League qualification after initially making a strong start to the campaign.
Mourinho’s position ultimately became untenable, with his negative tactics and no-nonsense way of dealing with the likes of Gareth Bale and Dele Alli failing to gain many admirers from within the club’s ranks.
His departure has given Levy plenty of time to scout a viable successor before the start of next season, with a number of interesting candidates having been mentioned in connection with the job in recent weeks.
RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann was understood to have been Tottenham’s priority target before it was announced that he will replace Hansi Flick at Bayern Munich next season.
Brendan Rodgers of Leicester City also appears to have ruled himself out of the running, claiming earlier this week that he is committed to the development of his ongoing project at the King Power Stadium.
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The need for Levy to appoint the right person has arguably never been greater, with Spurs hoping to avoid dropping even further down the Premier League pecking order if Mourinho’s successor fails to live up to expectations.
Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is now understood to be among the favourites for the role, but Tottenham’s perfect man could be lying in wait just a couple of hours up the M1 motorway.
Nuno Espirito Santo has transformed Wolves since taking over from Paul Lambert when the club were struggling in the Championship in 2017, turning them into a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League in less than four years.
One of Levy’s main priorities is reportedly to ensure that Tottenham’s new manager has the ability to implement an effective, forward-thinking style of play and Nuno has already passed this test with flying colours.
His three-at-the-back system relies heavily on Wolves making the most of their time on the ball, a feat he managed to achieve with great effect during the club’s rise to secure a seventh-placed top-flight finish in their first season back in the big time.
The west Midlands club have blended pragmatic, direct football with a fast-paced short passing game, the style of which would satisfy Levy’s demands and serve as the logical evolution of Mourinho’s negative, defensively-minded tactical approach.
Another advantage that Nuno has over Ten Hag is that he is, crucially, Premier League proven and widely regarded as one of the best coaches in the division.
The Portuguese manager’s success in bringing Wolves back to the upper reaches of English football shows his ability to lead a long-term project with incredible results, which could also suit Levy with Mourinho’s appointment serving as a quick fix in a misguided attempt to bring rapid results.
It is easy to forget that Nuno has a wealth of experience in the hot seat at clubs with lofty expectations, including Porto and Valencia, with his progress at Wolves standing him in good stead to make the most of any future big break with a top Premier League side.
He is said to be keen on a move away from Molineux in the near future, with his agent Jorge Mendes reportedly sounding out Tottenham to relay the 47-year-old’s interest in the vacancy.
If Levy decides to listen and takes a chance on Nuno, it could prove to be the Spurs chairman’s best decision since appointing Mauricio Pochettino to replace Tim Sherwood back in 2014.
The Wolves boss appears to have all the qualities required to succeed at the highest level of management, but it remains to be seen whether he will be given the opportunity to showcase his formidable skillset at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
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