EPL

Conte on the brink – who are the contenders to replace him at Spurs?

By Sports Desk March 22, 2023

With Antonio Conte expected to leave Tottenham by the end of the week, attention is already turning to who might be next to try their hand at what continues to look a near-impossible job.

Spurs are a big club with a fabulous stadium, passionate fanbase and talented squad.

Despite the relative success of Harry Redknapp and Mauricio Pochettino in the last two decades, as well as investing in high-profile bosses Jose Mourinho and Conte, none have been able to bring silverware to the north London club.

The only trophy Spurs have claimed since the turn of the century was the EFL Cup in 2007-08, and any new manager/head coach will be tasked with ending that drought as soon as possible, as well as ensuring another season of Champions League football.

Stats Perform looks at some of the early favourites, with Conte seemingly on the brink.

Mauricio Pochettino

The Argentinian was a very popular figure during his time at White Hart Lane – and subsequently Wembley and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Pochettino may not have won a trophy, but he presided over two title challenges and the run to the 2019 Champions League final, which resulted in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

He mostly got the best out of his players, too, and took many of them to another level.

His five-year reign included 113 wins from 202 Premier League games, a points-per-game (PPG) average of 1.89, very slightly higher than Conte's 1.88 (32 wins from 56 games).

Pochettino was eventually dismissed by chairman Daniel Levy after appearing to take the club as far as he could, so going back to him when still looking someone to take them to the next level might be a little backwards.

He would likely be a popular choice with the fans, though, and should at the very least provide some stability. Perhaps crucially, he might also be their best bet in convincing Harry Kane to stay.

Ryan Mason

It wouldn't technically be a return for Mason as he never actually left, taking on a first-team coach role after the end of his interim spell at the helm following the sacking of Mourinho in April 2021.

His second game in charge was a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City in the EFL Cup final, but Mason arguably did well considering his lack of experience.

Given he only took charge of six matches, it seems a little pointless to stake a claim for Mason based on his own PPG record (2.0).

But the former Spurs midfielder is the heavy favourite for the job, even if only on a short-term basis again.

Similarly to Pochettino, the thinking behind that choice would most likely be stability and that decision makers at the club may feel the players are likely to respond positively to someone they already know.

Unless he performs spectacularly, appointing Mason would probably be followed by a full-time hire at the end of the season.

Thomas Tuchel

While Tuchel would be yet another former Chelsea boss taking the reins, following in the footsteps of Glenn Hoddle, Andre Villas-Boas, Mourinho and Conte, it's hard to argue with his credentials.

The German won 35 of 63 Premier League games with the Blues, a PPG average of 1.94, as well as winning the Champions League in 2021.

Considering Spurs are eager to win a first trophy since 2008, the fact Tuchel guided Chelsea to five finals – including the 2021 Club World Cup – in less than two years will no doubt appeal, even if he did lose three of them.

Tuchel reportedly left Stamford Bridge partly due to a disagreement on transfers with owner Todd Boehly, which may not bode well given Conte's consistent complaining about the way Spurs work in the market.

Either way, the man who shared a furious handshake with Conte earlier this season could well be the same person to replace the Italian in the Spurs dugout.

 

Luis Enrique

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona player most recently won 27 of 48 games as Spain head coach, but international football can be a different world to the top-level club game.

Luis Enrique was very successful in his last club job at Barca, though it admittedly helped having a front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar all at their peak.

He won two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Rey crowns, a Supercopa de Espana, a European Super Cup and a Club World Cup, as well as the 2014-15 Champions League as part of a historic treble.

Overall, Luis Enrique won 87 of his 114 LaLiga games (2.4 PPG), but it is difficult to compare this to counterparts at Spurs given Barca's relative dominance in Spain.

His record at Roma earlier in his career could be a better barometer, winning 16 of his 38 Serie A games in charge of the Giallorossi (1.5 PPG), before winning 14 of 38 LaLiga matches as head coach of Celta Vigo (1.3 PPG) before heading to Camp Nou. But how relevant are these spells now given he left Balaidos nine years ago?

Similarly, the fact he's not had a club job since 2017 might be seen as problematic by some fans, while it could also be argued he underachieved with Spain.

Roberto De Zerbi

De Zerbi has made his mark on the Premier League very quickly since replacing Graham Potter at Brighton and Hove Albion in September.

Brighton have thrived and find themselves in a genuine fight for Europe, with a top-four finish not out of the question at this stage as they sit seven points behind fourth-placed Spurs with three games in hand.

De Zerbi has won eight of his 19 Premier League games, while the Seagulls rank second in the Premier League for passing accuracy (86.9 per cent), average possession (62.1 per cent) and passes per sequence (4.5). They are also third for goals (35) and fifth for passes played into the opposition's box since his first game, highlighting an attack-minded approach that would certainly be appreciated by a frustrated Spurs fanbase.

Getting him out of Brighton will be easier said than done, however, having already lost one head coach this season, not to mention their renown for getting a good deal – Potter reportedly cost Chelsea £21.5million.

Spurs will almost certainly have to pay through the nose or look elsewhere.

Oliver Glasner

A surprise name that has emerged in recent days is that of Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Oliver Glasner, who impressed so many by leading the Bundesliga club to Europa League success last season.

Glasner made a promising start to his coaching career in his native Austria with Ried and LASK, before guiding Wolfsburg to seventh and fourth-placed finishes in the German top-flight.

He then made the switch to Eintracht ahead of the 2021-22 season. He could only guide them to 11th in the Bundesliga, winning just three of their 17 games in the second half of the campaign, but this came amid the backdrop of Europa League glory, eliminating Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham before beating Rangers in the final on penalties.

Some reports suggest Levy has already contacted Glasner, whose contract expires in 2024.

This season, Eintracht sit sixth in the league and were recently knocked out of the Champions League last 16 by Napoli.

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