Next Tottenham Hotspur manager: Mauricio Pochettino to return? Julian Nagelsmann or Luis Enrique?

Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed that Italian manager Antonio Conte has left the club by mutual agreement. The club will now begin their search for his replacement.
“We can announce that head coach Antonio Conte has left the club by mutual agreement,” read a statement from the club.

“We achieved Champions League qualification in Antonio’s first season at the club. We thank Antonio for his contribution and wish him well for the future.”

Premier League

Conte leaves Tottenham by mutual consent, Stellini to take charge for rest of season


Tottenham added in the statement that Cristian Stellini would take charge of the team for the rest of the season as acting head coach, with Ryan Mason his assistant head coach. It’s unlikely that Stellini will be given the role on a permanent basis, though.

Let’s take a look at some of the other contenders.

Julian Nagelsmann – evens

Nagelsmann was sacked by Bayern Munich on Friday, with the club in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and a point behind Borussia Dortmund in Bundesliga ahead of their Der Klassiker on April 1. Nagelsmann has been replaced at Bayern by Thomas Tuchel, who was also reportedly under consideration by Tottenham.
The 35-year-old Nagelsmann was sacked after Bayern “played less successfully and less attractively after the World Cup”, said Oliver Kahn on the Bayern website.

However, Nagelsmann remains an elite-level coach, with PSG and Real Madrid reportedly interested in appointing the 35-year-old in the future.

Nagelsmann is tactically flexible, having sent out his Hoffenheim, Leipzig and Bayern teams in 3-1-4-2, 3-4-3, 3-5-2, 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 and 3-2-4-1 formations. His preference had been for a back three ahead of his Bayern tenure, so he could work with a squad that has been moulded to Conte’s preferred three-at-the-back.

He is also renowned for his work with younger players.

Julian Nagelsmann

Image credit: Getty Images

Mauricio Pochettino – Current odds 2/1

The emotional return.

There is no manager whose appointment would be more popular than the return of Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine was sacked in 2019 before moving on to PSG, where he won the league title, the Coupe de France and the Trophée des Champions. He was sacked by PSG in July of last year, and has been out of work since.

The positives of Pochettino are pretty obvious; he’s worked at the club before, knows the ins and outs and has a strong emotional connection with the fans.

The drawbacks are also pretty obvious. Pochettino looked completely burnt out when he was let go by Spurs, seemingly frustrated by a lack of spending to back him in the transfer market. Pochettino felt he could take Spurs to another level – and said the team needed a painful rebuild – but he wasn’t backed.

Mauricio Pochettino

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Oliver Glasner – Current odds 6/1

A real dark horse candidate who seems to have come out of nowhere. Glasner was not one of the initial names mentioned, but he has obviously drawn admiring glances for his fantastic work with Eintracht Frankfurt – work that culminated last year in winning the Europa League.

Glasner is a fascinating manager tactically. His Frankfurt side traditionally use a back three and employ a high press with an attacking unit of Randal Kolo Muani, Jesper Lindstrom, Daichi Kamada and Mario Gotze. The passing game is a nice mix of quick one-touch football and long balls over the top. He’s also used to working with a director of football – Ben Manga.

However, Glasner has never worked outside of Germany or his native Austria, so that’s an obvious place to start in terms of concerns. It is difficult to gauge how managers will adapt to new leagues. Glasner has also never managed a truly big club. He has taken charge of SV Ried, LASK, VfL Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt since becoming a manager in 2014.

Oliver Glasner

Image credit: Getty Images

Luis Enrique – Current odds 12/1

This is a really interesting possible appointment.

Enrique is out of work after stepping away from the Spain job at the end of the World Cup. It has been reported that he might take over at Atletico Madrid if Diego Simeone leaves at the end of the season – although Atleti’s recent resurgence might mean that opening never comes to pass.

So the Premier League does seem like an obvious landing point – his direct style could certainly work in England and he has managed some of the best players in the world.

But he hasn’t managed a club side since 2017. Barcelona aside, his tenures elsewhere – at Roma or Celta Vigo – were rather underwhelming. He had some success with the Spanish national team – while not working with a brilliant pool of talent – but his team failed to exceed expectations.

He is an experienced manager but at the same time still has a lot to prove.

Luis Enrique (España)

Image credit: Getty Images

Roberto De Zerbi – Current odds 16/1

This one probably feels the most unlikely option, if only because of how short a time De Zerbi has been at Brighton.

De Zerbi has Brighton fans dreaming of Europe with an expansive brand of football. The Italian was one of the worst-kept secrets in European football but it’s still remarkable how well he’s adapted to life in the Premier League. Unfortunately for Brighton, he’s probably destined for bigger things, but seems unlikely that a departure would come as early as this.

Roberto De Zerbi durante Leicester-Brighton – Premier League 2022-23

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Ange Postecoglou – Current odds 18/1

This might be the savviest option of the bunch. Postecoglou has rewarded Celtic’s faith in a manager who – before his appointment in 2021 – had never managed outside of the Asia-Pacific region barring a brief stint in his native Greece.

Postecoglou has restored Celtic to the top of the Scottish league, nine points clear of rivals Rangers, dropping just one game in the league all season whilst scoring a staggering 93 goals – that’s over three per game.

The risk with Postecoglou is the same for Spurs as it was for Celtic: he has no experience at this level. But the 57-year-old is battle-hardened, wise and quick-witted; he would bring a stabilising factor that the club truly needs.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou

Image credit: Getty Images

Cristian Stellini – no odds

The statement made clear that Stellini would only take control of the team until the end of the season. However, Spurs have collected some of their best results this season under Stellini. Should Tottenham picked up form under the Italian, the clamour for him to be appointed on a permanent basis may grow. However, his lack of experience would count against him.

The best of the rest

When looking at the other names, three clear groups form.

The up-and-coming young manager who hasn’t been tested in the Premier League. These are names such as Marcelo Gallardo, Ruben Amorim, Vincent Kompany and Michael Carrick. Most of these managers probably aren’t ready yet or, in the case of Kompany, might be destined for another job.

Then you have the re-treads, managers who have been in the league before or are still operating in it. Marcelo Bielsa, Brendan Rodgers, Rafael Benitez and Marco Silva etc. These would be back-up options if Tottenham failed in a move for Pochettino or Tuchel.

Marcelo Bielsa

Image credit: Eurosport

Finally, the complete wildcards, managers who have promise but either have nowhere near enough experience in a top league or just wouldn’t be interested in the Spurs job. This list includes the likes of Arne Slot at Feyenoord, Kjetil Knutsen who remains at Bodo/Glimt, Zinedine Zidane and William Still.

Still is absolutely fascinating. He’s doing astonishing work with Stade de Reims. He seems destined for a Premier League club, but it is more likely to be with a team like Brighton or Brentford, not Spurs.

Speaking of Brentford, the final name to mention here is Thomas Frank, who is in a similar spot to De Zerbi despite being in the Premier League a bit longer. However the Dane signed a new contract until 2027 on Christmas Eve so he might not be going anywhere any time soon.


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