It felt like bin day at Tottenham Hotspur on Monday. Not only did they drag their reputation to the curb - thanks to their short lived spell as a Super League club - they also kicked their manager to it.
Jose Mourinho was sacked as Spurs boss after 16 months in charge, just days before he was due to lead his side in the Carabao Cup Final against Manchester City. Mourinho’s time in charge amounted to zero trophies, countless dull performances, several high profile digs at his own players and one starring role in an Amazon Prime series (opens in new tab). Hardly the greatest record for a self-appointed "Special One".
Former player Ryan Mason is taking over on a temporary basis but a search for a new boss is likely to happen in the coming days and weeks. There’s a mess to sort out for whoever comes in, and these are the candidates most likely to get their marigolds on.
The RB Leipzig boss is considered one of the most exciting young coaches in European football, thanks to his tactical flexibility, attention to detail and promotion of young talent. His counter-attacking, high-pressing style of football would be a step away from the Mourinho blueprint; closer, in fact, to the way the team were set-up under former boss Mauricio Pochettino.
Injury forced Nagelsmann to quit playing football at a young age, and he began coaching Hoffenheim’s youth teams while studying for his coaching badges. His meticulously-planned training sessions and detailed opposition reports earned high praise and he was soon promoted to first team coach at the age of 28 - a Bundesliga record which still stands. He was later snatched by RB Leipzig after the departure of Ralph Hasenhuttl in 2018.
Nagelsmann films his training sessions and has them broadcasted live to giant screens around each pitch. The technology helps teach his players where they need to stand, when to press and also to shame squad members who aren't giving 100%. In other words, he is a highly demanding and progressive coach.
Nagelsmann is well known to Tottenham fans already, having masterminded Leipzig’s win over Mourinho’s side in the 2020 Champions League last-16. He’s the bookies’ favourite to succeed the Portuguese in an entirely different way over the coming weeks. His contract runs until 2023, but prising him away would not be an issue in a financial sense.
The Leicester City boss ticks a lot of boxes. He has experience coaching a “Big Six” side already, thanks to his time in charge of Liverpool between 2012 and 2015. He’s won silverware before, including league titles, with Celtic. He’s helped “smaller” Premier League sides overachieve in the past, with the Foxes on course to qualify for the Champions League this season. His teams play attractive football and he has a record of promoting young talent.
On paper, he’s the best man for the job. The real question is this: would he leave a Leicester City team in the Champions League for a Spurs side that isn't? Nothing is yet decided this campaign, but that scenario is becoming increasingly likely.
The Northern Irishman only signed a fresh deal at Leicester City in December 2019, with his contract running until 2025. Getting him out of it would be more expensive, but the risk is lower than an appointment like Nagelsmann. Much, however, would depend on what Rodgers considers a smart move at this stage in his career.
Nuno Espirito Santo
The Wolves boss was a former charge of Jose Mourinho’s, having been a goalkeeper in his Champions League-winning Porto squad of 2004. He is now among the frontrunners to replace his old boss at Tottenham.
Espirito Santo has proved himself a capable Premier League manager over the past three seasons with Wolves. His side plays counter-attacking football, with an emphasis on wing play; a style which would suit this Tottenham squad.
He’s never won silverware as a manager, though. Levy was evidently beguiled by Mourinho’s trophy haul and may wish to appoint another proven winner. This would probably rule the 6ft4in gaffer out of the running.
Lambeth-born Scott Parker is the only candidate on this list who represented Spurs as a player. The former defensive midfielder racked up 50 Premier League appearances, many as captain, for the club between 2011 and 2013, achieving cult status among fans for his work-rate and discipline.
He would be a popular choice on the terraces but limited coaching experience may count against him. Fulham are the only club he has ever managed and, despite doing an admirable job during a tough campaign, they look likely to go straight back down to the Championship.
That would equate to two full years in management, with just one of those in the top flight. Hardly a glowing CV, even if the facts don't fully reflect the good job Parker has been doing in south west London.
The former Bournemouth boss looked a dead-cert for the Celtic job a few weeks ago, only for the interest to cool in recent days.
Howe has been out of work since the Cherries were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2019/20 campaign. Still, the job he did on a limited budget has made him one of the most respected young coaches in English football.
Howe led Bournemouth - a club with less than 12,000 capacity at home games - from League Two to the Premier League and then kept them there for five years. All the while they played an easy on the eye, possession-based brand of football.
With a bigger budget, and a largely world-class squad to work with, Howe could be a good fit for Spurs, as well as a low cost appointment. But does he lack sex appeal?
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Ed is a staff writer at FourFourTwo, working across the magazine and website. A German speaker, he’s been working as a football reporter in Berlin since 2015, predominantly covering the Bundesliga and Germany's national team. Key FFT features include an exclusive interview with Jude Bellingham following the youngster’s move to Borussia Dortmund in 2020, a history of the Berlin Derby since the fall of the Wall and a celebration of Kevin Keegan’s playing career.
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