After sacking manager Jose Mourinho, Tottenham Hotspur have shifted their focus to finding a suitable replacement. The sacking came after a disastrous season for Spurs – they were eliminated from the FA Cup and Europa League and are likely to miss out on the top four. As the team management looks for a change of fortunes under a new manager, they are having a tough time, as it is not easy to replace one of the greatest managers of all time at any club.
Tottenham owner Daniel Levy’s initial shortlist has fallen apart in recent days. Julian Nagelsmann got a promotion to lead Bayern Munich and Erik ten Hag signed a new contract with Ajax. Brendan Rodgers, the man behind Leicester’s successful Premier League run, indicated he would stay there for the next season. Ryan Mason has been appointed as manager until the end of the season, giving the club time to weigh up their options.
We take a look at the top four names doing the rounds for a chance to manage the Spurs:
#4: Massimiliano Allegri
If Tottenham are seeking to replace a legendary manager with another of the same calibre, they need not look further than Massimiliano Allegri. The 53-year-old Italian manager had an extraordinary stint at Juventus, winning four doubles and five consecutive Serie A titles with the Bianconeri, making him one of the most successful managers on the continent. Allegri left Juventus with an overall win rate of 70.48%, the highest for any manager in the history of the club.
Allegri is known for his composed, orderly and fluid strategies, switching his formations between 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 systems, sometimes during the game. But such a possession-based boring football might not fit the dynamic and glitzy Premier League, and Tottenham were accused of playing boring football under Mourinho as well. The Italian’s lack of experience outside Italy is an issue to consider for the Spurs, but as Juventus have expressed an interest in rehiring Allegri, the team management has no time to waste if they want to hire him.
#3: Rafael Benitez
Another experienced man under consideration, Rafael Benitez is a veteran who knows the Premier League inside out. The Spaniard has previously managed top-flight clubs including Valencia, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Chelsea (interim), and has numerous trophies to his credit across competitions.
One of the reasons that Tottenham fans were disappointed with Mourinho was his cautious approach, which was in stark contrast to the attacking extravaganza that they were used to under Mauricio Pochettino. But Benitez is also a defensive-minded manager, and he might not excite fans as much as they would have hoped.
#2: Roberto Martinez
Another top contender for the post is Belgian national team manager Roberto Martinez, who currently presides over the golden generation of Belgian football. Having the experience of coaching the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Jan Vertonghen, and Nacer Chadli, Martinez is already experienced in dealing with the quirks of the Premier League. In his previous stint at Everton, Martinez led the team to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the League Cup.
Martinez is known for his fluid style, which might suit Tottenham’s requirements. But his tactical style has often come under attack, even from his own players. His excessive focus on possession of the ball, along with a conservative approach to the game. He has received criticism from his own team; Kevin De Bruyne accused Martinez of overemphasizing a ‘defensive system’, and in a side filled with attacking players, he might not be the ideal choice.
#1: Ralf Rangnick
Tottenham are looking for a manager who can blend well with their attacking mindset, and they are eager to hire the former RB Leipzig boss, Ralf Rangnick. The 62-year-old operates with three Cs in mind – concept, competence and capital, can align well with the club’s philosophy of playing aggressive but organised football. His long stints with seven German clubs have left a deep impression on managers across Germany, and he has often earned comparisons with Marcelo Bielsa.
The German’s only managerial role since his stint at Schalke in 2011 was as an interim manager for RB Leipzig. But Rangnick has been closely involved with setting up Red Bull’s football set up around the globe and has had an ear to the ground. He rejected an offer last year from Chelsea, reportedly as the Blues were only committed to offering him a short-term role initially.
Ralf Rangnick might be the oldest contender for the spot, but the news of his name on the shortlist has excited fans on social media, and the ‘German Marcelo Bielsa’ might be the leader Tottenham desperately need right now.