Nuno Espirito Santo’s reign as Tottenham Hotspur manager lasted just 17 matches, with the powers that be in north London deciding to go in a different direction just four months into the new campaign.
The Portuguese tactician got his tenure off to a flyer with that 1-0 win over Manchester City on matchday one in the Premier League, but that triumph over the reigning champions has since proven a flash in the pan, with results flattering to deceive post-August.
Rumours that Espirito Santo would face the chopping block became rife after his side suffered a chastening 3-0 reversal to Manchester United on home soil at the weekend, and that speculation has been made reality on Monday morning, with the club confirming his dismissal.
Talk now turns as to who will succeed Espirito Santo in the Spurs hotseat, with former Inter Milan, Chelsea and Juventus manager Antonio Conte an early favourite among bookmakers to make an astonishing Premier League return. But who else is in the running?
Antonio Conte – 1/8
Antonio Conte is a serial winner, a medal-hoovering tactician who all but guarantees success wherever he goes. If Spurs are serious about getting back to their halcyon days under Mauricio Pochettino, ensuring Harry Kane returns to his devastating best in front of goal and exciting fans, then the appointment of one of the continent’s most-coveted managers will go a long way to achieving that. Still out of work following his departure from Inter, whom he helped secure the Italian championship from perennial winners Juventus, Conte would be an absolute game-changer for Spurs, but he would require funds and substantial backing to make his vision a reality. Will Daniel Levy bite the bullet and write the Italian a blank cheque?
Paulo Fonseca – 10/1
Anyone getting a sense of deja vu? By all accounts, Spurs were intent on bringing Paulo Fonseca to north London over the summer, but for one reason or another, Jose Mourinho’s Roma predecessor didn’t trade places with the Portuguese. Now back in the crosshairs of Levy, Fonseca has also recently been linked with the vacant Newcastle post and offers a fascinating proposal for a club of Tottenham’s standing. A revelation at Shakhtar Donetsk, Fonseca wasn’t quite able to replicate that success in the Eternal City, but he remains a progressive, forward-thinking technocrat who could transform Tottenham’s fortunes if given time.
Graham Potter – 10/1
If pundits and analysts are to be believed, then Potter has been destined for bigger things than Brighton ever since he pitched up on the South Coast. The innovative coach has got the Seagulls playing some breathtaking, yet effective football; he’s proven savvy in the transfer market with some very astute, under-the-radar purchases; and he has the club up in seventh, ahead of Spurs. With Premier League experience, transfer market acumen and a philosophy geared towards the aesthetic, Potter certainly ticks more than a few boxes.
Ryan Mason – 16/1
The Premier League’s youngest-ever head coach, Mason has already dipped his toes into management following his interim stint as Tottenham boss after Mourinho left, in which he led the club out for their League Cup final defeat at the expense of Man City. Highly regarded at Spurs, Mason would be seen as more of a romantic appointment by those with rose-tinted spectacles. The Spurs fans would get behind the inexperienced coach, but having been driven to the precipice by Mourinho and Espirito Santo, they will be craving a big name.
Eddie Howe – 20/1
Still out of work, the Bournemouth miracle-worker has been in no rush to return to the dugout, but will no doubt be itching to get back to the tactical chalk board should the right opportunity present itself. Forever linked with a move to a ‘Big Six’ club while producing heroics for the Cherries, Howe is now a free agent and remains a highly sought-after option despite Bournemouth’s relegation during his tenure. With Premier League experience, a media-friendly persona and an ability to get the best out of players, Howe has all the tools to come in and rejuvenate a dispirited bunch of players. Is he a big enough name to appease a frustrated fan base?
Top 10 favourites to become Tottenham Hotspur manager:
- Antonio Conte – 1/8
- Paulo Fonseca – 10/1
- Graham Potter – 10/1
- Ryan Mason – 16/1
- Eddie Howe – 20/1
- Scott Parker – 25/1
- Julen Lopetegui – 25/1
- Brendan Rodgers – 25/1
- Erik ten Hag – 25/1
- Sergio Conceicao – 33/1