Italy coach Cesare Prandelli has thrown his name into the hat to become the next Tottenham manager following initial discussions about his future beyond this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
The Italian was linked with a move to White Hart Lane when Andre Villas-Boas was sacked towards the end of 2013, and the Evening Standard is reporting that the Italian, who is almost certain to leave the national team after the World Cup, has been contacted about a new role at Spurs.
The 56-year-old has a close friendship with Tottenham technical director and fellow Italian Franco Baldini, having spent time together at Roma in 2004. Prandelli was unable to take charge of a match with the Giallorossi though due to his wife falling seriously ill, with Baldini director of football at the club during Prandelli’s short time there.
It is believed no official approach has been made to Prandelli, with Tim Sherwood given a contract until the end of next season, and Dutch pair Louis van Gaal and Frank de Boer also admired by the club’s chairman, Daniel Levy. Although he is philosophical about his own prospects of remaining head coach next term, Sherwood would make it difficult for Levy to ignore him were he to guide Tottenham to a place in the 2014-15 Champions League.
It is thought , however, that Prandelli, 56, is keen to work in the Premier League and is understood to have responded favourably to the idea of moving to north London. Although his grasp of English is limited, the former Fiorentina boss and his coaching staff are said to have been working hard on their command of the language in recent months.
Sources in Italy revealed the initial contact with Prandelli was made last December, the month in which Andre Villas-Boas was dismissed by the Tottenham board.
Since then, it seems Prandelli has grown even more enthusiastic about the prospect of working in the Premier League and it is believed further soundings were made this month. Were the job offered today, it is likely Prandelli would accept.
Since he led Italy to second place at Euro 2012, it has been expected that Prandelli would leave after this summer’s tournament in Brazil. An announcement was anticipated after Italy secured qualification last September but this was delayed.
More light could be shed on the situation in the coming weeks, however, as Prandelli is due to hold talks with Giancarlo Abete, the president of the Italian FA, in mid-March. Prandelli is also likely to be asked about his future before Italy’s friendly against Spain on March 5.
The final word will, of course, rest with Levy, a huge admirer of Van Gaal. The 62-year-old is scheduled to end his second spell in charge of Holland after the World Cup, and has always dreamed of working in the English top flight. If an agreement can be reached with the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach, he still looks the clear favourite.
Furthermore, Baldini’s role is under scrutiny after he recommended the £30million, club‑record signing of Erik Lamela from Roma, which has failed to bear fruit so far. It is hard to imagine Spurs appointing an ally of Baldini if they are not convinced about the technical director’s long-term suitability for the role.
Yet Prandelli remains an attractive proposition. He kept both Parma and Fiorentina in the upper echelons of Serie A during his time at those clubs, between 2002-10, and has enhanced his reputation as an outstanding coach through his work with Italy.
Both AC Milan and Juventus had shown an interest in him earlier this year but Milan chose to appoint a rookie coach in Clarence Seedorf, while Juve are likely to press ahead with Antonio Conte, despite his occasionally combustible temperament off the field.
Prandelli’s salary of about £2million a year before tax is substantially less than that of the top coaches in Europe, including Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger, and Prandelli would be happy to work at Spurs even if they did not qualify for the Champions League — as long as he had guarantees about being given time to implement his methods. Clearly, the presence of Baldini would be fundamental to any agreement.
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