Tottenham’s hunt for a new manager has been a circus — but the North Londoners finally have their man: Nuno Espirito Santo.
Jose Mourinho was sacked just days before the Carabao Cup final back in April but Spurs have struggled to find his replacement.
Discussions with the likes of Antonio Conte, Paulo Fonseca and Gennaro Gattuso have come to nothing, leaving the North London side red-faced.
Prior to Nuno’s appointment, we assessed some of the leading candidates for the role. Here’s what Tottenham might have had.
Nuno Espirito Santo
Former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has been appointed Tottenham boss on a deal until June 2023.
The Portuguese departed Molineux last month after four years in charge, in which time he guided the Midlands outfit to promotion from the Championship and secured two Premier League top-half finishes.
Nuno, 47, possesses an understanding of the trials and tribulations the English top flight throws at managers but his potential appointment appears to have underwhelmed Tottenham fans.
Often deploying a five-man defence in his time at Wolves, he has become known for a counter-attacking style of play — an approach that drew some criticism during his final season at Molineux.
However, the former Valencia boss got the best out of the likes of Matt Doherty – now a Spurs player – Raul Jimenez, Pedro Neto and Adama Traore.
Nuno’s style of play was all about width when in possession, utilising the wing-backs to create overloads in midfield.
Explaining his system, Nuno said: “When you attack you have to have width, when you defend you have to be compact.
“We have to be compact, close to each other, knowing that the outside [space] is there but the moment it goes we are there to engage on our defensive process.
“But the main idea is to be compact when we defend and achieve maximum width when we attack.”
Belgium are currently gearing up for their Euro 2020 quarter-final clash with Italy — but that has not stopped talk of Roberto Martinez taking charge of Tottenham after the tournament.
Premier League fans may roll their eyes at the thought of a man relegated with Wigan managing such an elite club yet Martinez has quietly become one of international football’s most regarded coaches.
He has become known for an attractive possession-based style of play — something the Tottenham faithful will be longing for after 15 months of Mourinho’s pragmatic football.
Martinez, 47, has also now worked with some of the world’s best players, including Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, which will ultimately bode well if he is tasked with persuading Harry Kane to stay in N17.
Erik ten Hag
Tottenham fans will be well aware of Erik ten Hag’s high-octane style of play. After all, Spurs and his Ajax side played out one of the most dramatic Champions League knockout ties in history back in 2019.
Ten Hag, 51, has had plenty of success during his spell with the Dutch giants, reaching a Champions League semi-final and winning two Eredivisie titles.
Under his guidance, Ajax won the league by a remarkable 16 points last season, scoring 102 goals along the way.
Ten Hag utilises an attacking interpretation of a 4-3-3 formation with two wingers making darting runs inside, perfectly suiting the strengths of both Heung-Min Son and Steven Bergwijn.
He has also had a very limited budget at Ajax, often being forced to work with academy players — something that will be music to Spurs chairman Daniel Levy’s ears in the current economic climate.
Brighton manager Graham Potter has enjoyed an almighty rise in the past few seasons.
After spending more than seven years at the helm of Swedish side Ostersunds, a period in which he secured three promotions, the Svenska Cupen and reached the Europa League knockout phase, he made the switch to Swansea.
Yet just one year in charge of the Championship club was enough to persuade Brighton to pounce.
Potter, 46, has earned rave reviews over the last two years for the attractive philosophy he has implemented on the South Coast.
The prospect of Potter’s football taking shape at Tottenham is mouth-watering but reports suggest Spurs are reluctant to pay the £15million in compensation Brighton are demanding.
A surprise name in the list of potential candidates is Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, with the former Liverpool midfielder impressing since taking charge in Glasgow.
Gerrard, 41, led Rangers to their first league success in 10 years without losing a single match last season — winning the league by an impressive 25 points and only conceding 13 goals over the whole campaign.
But it is believed the former England man is unlikely to depart Ibrox this summer.
With many of Tottenham’s players set to report for pre-season training in just over a week, Levy must make a decision quickly.
Spurs are unlikely to trigger Potter’s release clause, leaving Ten Hag lbest placed to achieve success in North London.
The Dutch boss has the style and trophy-winning experience to build a dynasty at Tottenham — all while playing a brand of football the Spurs faithful will appreciate.
But a move for Nuno feels the more likely outcome.
The only problem is that decision would be sure to elicit a mixed response from the club’s supporters after such a long wait for the right man.