Tottenham’s managerial snub-list! Arne Slot joins the growing list of managers to decide against the top job at Spurs… with THREE Italians, a Championship game-changer and a German control freak already on there
- Tottenham’s search for a first-team manager took another twist on Thursday
- Their top target, Arne Slot, committed his future to Eredivisie side Feyenoord
- Here, Mail Sport takes a look at all the managers to have snubbed Spurs recently
By now, it’s fair to say that Tottenham don’t have the best luck – or negotiation skills – when it comes to their managerial hunts.
The north London side were dealt a massive blow in their search to replace Antonio Conte on Thursday, after top target Arne Slot ruled himself out the running.
The Feyenoord boss came out and insisted that he was ‘thankful’ for links to Spurs but, ultimately, wanted to stay with the Eredivisie champions.
It’s a decision that will hurt Daniel Levy – and has upset a lot of Spurs fans – but this feeling of rejection is certainly not one that they’re unfamiliar with.
And so, here, Mail Sport takes a look at the long list of managers that have snubbed the opportunity to manage Spurs since Jose Mourinho’s departure in April 2021.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has whittled through a long list of managerial candidates
Tottenham’s pursuit of German coach Julian Nagelsmann stretches back as far as April 2019, when the club were searching for Jose Mourinho’s replacement.
Nagelsmann was with Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig at the time, which is where he made a name for himself and became one of the most exciting managerial prospects.
Spurs, meanwhile, were assessing their options and chairman Levy turned his attention to the up-and-comer in Germany, who had initially provided optimism over joining the club during negotiations earlier in the season.
However, everything changed when Hansi Flick was dismissed from his role as Bayern Munich manager – which came two days before Mourinho’s departure.
Nagelsmann was swiftly acquired by Bayern after the Bundesliga giants agreed a world-record £21.7million compensation package with RB Leipzig – which Spurs would likely not have done.
Fast forward to 2023 and Nagelsmann had returned to Tottenham’s managerial shortlist, in the wake of Antonio Conte’s departure earlier in the season.
After Chelsea failed to convince the 35-year-old to take up their vacant role, Spurs held talks with Nagelsmann – who was dismissed as Bayern manager in March.
However, it was indicated to Mail Sport that Nagelsmann was not convinced by the direction the club intended to head this summer and decided to withdraw.
German coach Julian Nagelsmann was on Spurs’ radar in 2021 before joining Bayern Munich
After Nagelsmann came Rodgers. The Northern Irish manager was at Leicester – who he only ended up leaving this season – when Levy came knocking.
Their interest in Rodgers came off the back of Nagelsmann’s move to Bayern, with Levy seeing the Foxes boss as the next-best alternative.
Rodgers described the north Londoners as one of Britain’s biggest clubs but revealed he had no plans to leave the King Power Stadium.
Speaking at the time, he said: ‘I’m very, very happy here. I have a huge respect here for the players, the board and I really feel that I want to continue my work here.
‘I’ve got a set of players that give me their heart and soul every single day and also I can see a future here in terms of the development of the squad.
‘Tottenham is a great club, one of the biggest clubs in Britain but for me I’m just in a really, really happy place in my life.’
Levy has long-been an admirer of recently sacked Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers (pictured)
Erik ten Hag
Yes, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was another coach who once turned down the opportunity to manage Tottenham.
As Spurs scrambled to replace Mourinho – with Nagelsmann and Rodgers ruled out – the north London club identified, at the time, Ajax boss ten Hag as an option.
The club had supposedly scheduled a ‘direct meeting’ with the Dutchman, in the hopes of persuading him to join the club, but were met with a different reality.
That same month ten Hag signed a contract extension with Eredivisie giants Ajax and put an end to rumours over a potential move to Spurs.
In an interview after signing, Ten Hag acknowledged the strong links to Spurs but insisted that Ajax is where his ‘head and heart are at’.
‘I don’t want to rule out that that could have happened, but I know what I have here,’ he said via Jonathan Veal. ‘I know who I am working with, I know what the ideas are, I know what goals we have. I’m happy here. That’s where my head and heart are at.’
In a thinly veiled dig at the rumours linking him with Spurs, Ajax tweeted: ‘His home? Amsterdam’ upon announcing ten Hag’s contract extension.
Erik ten Hag – who is now coach of Manchester United – snubbed Spurs after agreeing a contract extension with Dutch giants Ajax in 2021
For those living under a rock – or those uninterested in Tottenham’s never-ending manager merry-go-round – Antonio Conte actually was the most recent permanent Spurs boss.
The Italian coach spent 18 months in charge in North London before his dramatic exit in March, after he launched a verbal attack against his own players.
His relationship with the Spurs board was clearly fractured and perhaps it stemmed from the difficult negotiations that took place in 2021, when they first went in for him.
Conte had just left Inter Milan on his own accord – after winning the Serie A title – and was the leading candidate to take over at Spurs.
The club held talks with the Italian over taking the vacant managerial role but discussions broke down after a number of snags in the deal emerged.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, Conte appeared to shine a light on his failed switch to north London and suggested he wasn’t ‘convinced’ by their project.
‘Let me say that if my problem or my obsession were money, in the past I would have stayed where I was.
‘I would have accepted compromises, and perhaps [accepted] renewals. But instead I look at the projects and I am willing to stay at home if they don’t convince me.’
Antonio Conte rejected Tottenham’s advances before joining the club in November 2021
In case you were wondering, all of the managers listed so far were approached by Spurs within the same window. Post-Mourinho and pre-Nuno Espirito Santo.
After Nagelsmann, Rodgers, ten Hag and Conte all turned their noses up at the north London side, Levy identified Paulo Fonseca as the next-best candidate.
The former Roma boss – who now coaches French side Lille – had held advanced talks with the club and had seemed a shoo-in to become the next manager.
However, talks broke down in the eleventh hour after issues arose between Fonseca and Spurs’ newly appointed sporting director Fabio Paratici.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Fonseca explained what had happened. ‘The agreement was done. We were planning the pre-season and Tottenham wanted an offensive coach.
‘But things changed when the new managing director [Fabio Paratici] arrived and we didn’t agree with some ideas and he preferred another coach.
‘I have some principles. I wanted to be coach of the great teams but I want the right project and a club where the people believe in my ideas, my way to play, and this didn’t happen with the managing director.’
Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca has gone on to become manager of French side Lille
Next up, after Fonseca was ruled out as an option, was AC Milan legend Gennaro Gattuso.
The former Napoli manager – who infamously clashed with Spurs coach Joe Jordan in his playing days – had little managerial experience but was favoured by Paratici.
However, Gattuso found Tottenham to be in a bit of a ‘mess’ before negotiations between himself and the club broke down, according to one of his former players.
Italy star Lorenzo Insigne, who had been briefly coached by Gattuso at Napoli, revealed he’d been in contact with the coach and offered some interesting insights.
Speaking to Football Italia, Insigne said: ‘We’ve texted each other, he told me there was a bit of mess.’
In the end, Gattuso’s judgement that Spurs were a ‘mess’ was probably for the best.
Fans hadn’t forgotten his feud with Jordan as well as controversial comments on racism, women in football and same-sex marriage and had ‘#NoToGattuso’ trending online.
Tottenham fans voiced their displeasure about the potential appointment of Gennaro Gattuso
The final manager from Tottenham’s hunt to replace Mourinho in 2021 – and the third Italian on this list – is current Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri.
After six (yes, six!) failed approaches for managers, Levy and Paratici were hopeful that Allegri would be the man to answer their prayers.
To their dismay, that was not the case, after reports in Spain claimed that the former AC Milan boss was asked to take the reins on a permanent basis.
Instead, the 53-year-old turned down their advances as he waited to see whether Zinedine Zidane would remain as Real Madrid’s boss.
Zidane’s position with the Spanish giants was hanging in the balance, at the time, and sparked interest from Allegri in a potential move to the Bernabeu.
In turn, it ended any hopes of Spurs securing the Italian coach and, as a result, they were forced to settle with former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo.
Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri held out for the Real Madrid job and snubbed Spurs
Finally, we make it to the candidates who have snubbed Tottenham’s approaches in recent months, namely Burnley boss Vincent Kompany.
The Belgian manager was one of the leading candidates on Spurs’ shortlist, after Conte’s departure earlier in the year, and held talks with the club.
However, the Man City legend – who forged his managerial career at Anderlecht – showed little interest in the vacant position in north London.
When quizzed on the matter, at the time, he remained distant from the Spurs job. ‘I have too much at this moment in time in my head in terms of wanting to win football matches. That’s the only thing I care about,’ he said last month.
His commitment to Burnley was clear – having just won the Championship title with them – and shortly afterwards, he signed a new long-term deal with the Clarets.
Mail Sport reported that Kompany was resistant to taking a big leap to a club with huge expectations after just three years in management.
Burnley boss Vincent Kompany has outlined his desire to stay with the Clarets next year
From one Premier League legend to another. Next up on Levy’s shortlist of managerial options was former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso.
The Spaniard – who has been in charge of Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen since October – was a favourable candidate due to the style of play his side utilised.
Similarly to Spurs’ recently dismissed Conte, Alonso’s system at Bayer focuses on a three-at-the-back formation with full-backs pushing on and joining the attack.
It was a no-brainer for Levy, who would’ve been enticed by the fact Alonso could’ve found use for a lot of their current stars.
However, shortly after interest in Alonso began, the former Real Madrid midfielder ruled himself out the running.
‘I’ve been in football for many years, rumours are normal but we still have a lot to achieve,’ he said. ‘That’s why my head is 100 per cent here for the last few months. And my head is also 100 per cent here for next season.’
Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso had been a frontrunner for his similar tactical approach
If you’d been on Twitter within the past 48 hours, you probably would’ve seen plenty of talk about ‘Tottenham Slotspur’.
The Feyenoord boss had emerged as Levy’s primary managerial target and, after a round of talks with the Dutchman, seemed to be nearing a move to London.
However, everything came crashing down for Spurs on Thursday morning, when Slot confirmed to media in the Netherlands that he would be staying at the club.
Mail Sport understand that it would have cost Tottenham up to £15million to release Slot – and three coaches – from his contract at Feyenoord.
However, Slot insists that his decision was not based on an financial constraint and, instead, was based on his desire to stay with the Dutch champions.
‘I have been hearing a lot of rumours going around about other clubs’ interest in me. Although I am thankful, my wish is to stay at Feynoord and continue working on what we created last year,’ he said.
‘Yesterday’s meeting was exclusively for an extension. All talks with the club have always been only in that sense. I’m looking forward to next season with Feyenoord.’
Arne Slot has revealed he is staying at Feyenoord this summer in a major blow for Tottenham
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