Nuno Espirito Santo: Timeline of Tottenham’s 72-day search for a new manager

Tottenham’s search for a successor to Jose Mourinho is finally over

Jonathan Veal
Thursday 01 July 2021 11:55
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Nuno Espirito Santo's first Spurs interview

Tottenham Hotspur’s 72-day search for a new manager is over after they appointed former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo on a two-year contract with the option of a third.

The recruitment process bordered on the farcical and the club went through candidate after candidate before eventually choosing a man who was available for six weeks.

Here, we take a look at the eventful 72 days.

April 19 – Merely 12 hours after Tottenham announced their intention to join the ill-fated European Super League, they fire Jose Mourinho after a poor run of form. The Portuguese had been due to lead the team out in the Carabao Cup final just six days later.

April 20 – Spurs appoint 29-year-old Ryan Mason on an interim basis until the end of the season. The former midfielder, who had to retire in 2017, found himself jettisoned from an academy position to fielding questions in the press conference about the ESL.

April 27 – RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann ironically nicknamed ‘Baby Mourinho’, was the club’s preferred choice to become their new manager, but he is confirmed as Hansi Flick’s replacement at Bayern Munich before an approach could be made.

April 30 – Tottenham held preliminary talks with Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag but cool their interest after he intimated he was going to sign a new contract, which he duly did.

May 19 – Chairman Daniel Levy reveals the club are looking to hire a manager that fits the “DNA”, playing primarily attacking football and committed to developing young talent.

May 23 – Brendan Rodgers, who was also admired by the hierarchy, publicly declares his intention to stay at Leicester following his side’s 4-2 defeat to Spurs on the final day of the Premier League season, with Mason’s temporary stint coming to an end.

May 24 – Nuno’s departure from Wolves after four successful seasons is announced.

Spurs were keen to bring back former boss Mauricio Pochettino

May 27 – Tottenham decide to make a move for their former boss Mauricio Pochettino and hold preliminary talks with the Argentinian. However, his club Paris St Germain had no intention of letting him leave.

June 2 – Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte emerges as a surprise contender. The Italian was a free agent after leaving Inter Milan but did not fit the profile set out by Levy and the two parties held extensive talks.

June 4 – Tottenham quickly realise Conte would not be a suitable candidate in the conditions he would be expected to work and they pulled out of talks.

June 9 – It was well known that Fabio Paratici would be coming into a managing director role following his exit from Juventus and he was already involved in the managerial process. He quickly targets former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca, who was replaced in the Italian capital by Mourinho, and talks progress smoothly.

June 12 – Paratici is officially announced as the club’s new football managing director, making the appointment of a new head coach his number one priority.

June 17 – Fonseca is ready to move his life to London, with his wife suggesting as much on Instagram, and it is understood all the paperwork was put in place for a deal to be done with the Portuguese. However, when Gennaro Gattuso left Fiorentina after little over three weeks, Paratici had his head turned and tried to appoint the former Italy midfielder.

June 18 – Tottenham fans reacted in fury at Gattuso’s proposed appointment due to alleged controversial comments he made in the past. #NotoGattuso was the number one trend on Twitter in the UK and Spurs listen to their supporters, quickly ruling Gattuso out.

June 30 – Spurs finally ended a chaotic search by appointing a man who had been on the market for six weeks in the shape of Nuno. The Portuguese had been a target for Crystal Palace but was given the job at Spurs after Paratici persuaded Levy that he could deliver attacking football.