Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed the sacking of Portuguese boss Nuno Espirito Santo after just ten games of the 2021/22 Premier League season. Spurs won five and lost five under Nuno’s helm, with Tottenham sitting in eighth place in the table, just five points off the top four. For many, the writing was on the wall after the way the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium crowd booed the team off the pitch in their 3-0 loss to Manchester United.
It was the manner of the defeat to the Red Devils that heaped pressure on Espirito Santo. Manchester United went into the game with an equally under-fire manager in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Tipping expert Tom Love predicted a draw between the two teams for oddschecker users, based on the heightened scrutiny that both coaches were under. But it was anything but a tight encounter with United running riot in North London.
When the crowd turns, it’s often time to call it a day. However, on this occasion, many may look at the announcement with puzzlement. The club’s owner Daniel Levy took months to decide upon a successor to Jose Mourinho on a permanent basis. Once his compatriot was appointed, there was very little time for Nuno to mould the squad in his style during the summer transfer window. This is a manager that took Wolves into the top-flight and helped them into the top half and the Europa League for the first time in more than two generations. However, having started the campaign with renewed hope and a home win over champions Manchester City, Nuno has been unceremoniously jettisoned four months into the job.
All Eyes on Antonio Conte
Spurs’ managing director of football Fabio Paratici described Nuno as “a true gentleman” but the cut-throat nature of Tottenham’s decision will no doubt rankle with the Portuguese, who felt he had earnt a shot at a top job following his success at Molineux. The firing of Nuno reflects worst on chairman Daniel Levy, who had all the time in the world to appoint a suitable replacement to Mourinho and, by his own actions, appears to have failed.
Fiery Italian coach Antonio Conte was linked with the Spurs vacancy in the summer. In fact, he was Levy’s number-one target. However, Conte admitted in the summer there was “something” within Tottenham “that [did] not convince [him]” to sign on the dotted line. What’s changed between June and November, only Conte can say, but reports suggest that Levy may have managed to convince him to sign at the second time of asking.
Conte Reports Coming In
Well-connected journalist Fabrizio Romano revealed that Conte was due in North London for talks to finalize a contract at Tottenham that’s expected to run until 2023. Romano said Conte is now “more than tempted” to take the Spurs job. Conte also has previous working with Tottenham’s new director of football Paratici in one of his previous roles at Juventus. Manchester United were said to be eyeing up Conte’s services given the precariousness of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position at Old Trafford, but it seems Tottenham have fired Nuno early to steal a march on one of their main rivals for a Champions League qualification spot this season.
Like Jose Mourinho, Conte will arrive at Tottenham with a winning CV. He’s won domestic titles with two Serie A teams (Inter and Juventus) and in the Premier League with Chelsea. As a serial winner, Conte will require financial assurances from Levy and co. regarding transfer budgets for the upcoming January transfer window. Providing these guarantees are made, there appears to be nothing getting in the way of Spurs making Conte their man.
Challenges For Antonio Conte
The biggest challenge of all for Conte will be to relight the fire in the belly of Spurs’ talismanic captain Harry Kane. After being denied a life-changing move to Manchester City in the summer, Kane has been off the boil in front of goal, despite pledging his commitment to the Tottenham cause upon the closure of the August transfer window. A fit and firing Harry Kane could turbocharge Spurs back up the Premier League table and back into top four contention.
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