Ex-Barcelona boss ‘tops’ Tottenham manager shortlist with Conte exit ‘inevitable’, Poch return ‘unlikely’

Lewis Oldham
Tottenham target Enrique

Former Barcelona and Spain boss Luis Enrique is reportedly at the ‘top’ of Tottenham Hotspur’s manager shortlist with Antonio Conte’s exit now ‘inevitable’.

Conte’s contract is due to expire this summer but Tottenham do have the option to extend his deal by a further year.

This looks unlikely at the moment, though. Spurs’ players were booed on Wednesday night following their disappointing Champions League exit.

Tottenham trailed AC Milan 1-0 on aggregate heading into the second leg but the Premier League side could only draw 0-0 with the Italian giants at home so they have exited the competition.

Spurs also exited the Carabao Cup and FA Cup in dismal fashion and they could drop down to sixth in the Premier League if Newcastle and Liverpool make the most of their games in hand.

The Athletic are reporting that Conte’s exit in the summer ‘seems inevitable’. Daniel Levy has ‘tasked Fabio Paratici, his under-fire managing director of football, with the job of producing a list of suitable possibilities for the role’ when the current head coach moves on.

Enrique is ‘likely to top’ this list as Paratici ‘has long admired’ the Spanish coach. This managerial shortlist ‘will be worked on this month’.

‘Paratici’s list is also likely to include’ Eintracht Frankfurt’s Oliver Glasner, Sporting Lisbon’s Ruben Amorim and Napoli’s Luciano Spalletti.

As for Pochettino, it is ‘unlikely’ that he will be among Paratici’s favoured candidates.

Gus Poyet has argued that Conte must decide whether he will remain at Tottenham “before the international break” later this month.

“We are already in March, and I think that under normal circumstances, everybody would know if Conte was going to be there next year or not,” Poyet told Neuecasinos24.com.

“There has to be a deadline this month on his future, in March – with Antonio and the club, one way or another. I’m not talking just about for Antonio – it is important for the players, the recruitment and the overall well-being of the club.

“It’s a strange situation. During the games he doesn’t influence the play, he doesn’t seem to be thinking about how to win the game. Maybe the situation with his health has extended his decision-making time longer but now that he is back, and before the international break, a decision has to be made.

“It is something the players are going to be talking about, especially after being knocked out of the Champions League. If they aren’t playing and don’t have a great relationship with the coach, they may be thinking it will be better if there is a change. Or there may be players who do have a good relationship and are trying to influence him to sign the contract.

“I’m trying to think why it is still in doubt. Are they waiting for something or do they already know and it has not been made public? It is very strange. We are not talking about a situation where a manager has finished his contract and everybody knows he is leaving.”

READ MORE: Pochettino beware… Five managers who should never have gone back to their old clubs