Tottenham’s search for a new manager is set to stretch on into the coming weeks despite links with a string of available coaches, but Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag are said to be the two main options for Spurs.
Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte was rumoured to be the frontrunner to permanently replace Jose Mourinho.
However, as per reports from the Evening Standard, talks to secure a deal broke down between the Italian and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Conte’s exit from Inter was rumoured to be based around the Italians’ tight transfer budget ahead of 2021/22.
And though he would have got more money to work with at Spurs, Conte reportedly wanted to bring in a specific coaching team in north London.
Levy subsequently blocked this request and Conte is no longer seen as an option to replace Mourinho.
With Conte now apparently out of the running for a Premier League comeback, Levy will be forced to look elsewhere for Mourinho’s successor.
Former head coach Pochettino is still rumoured to be on Levy’s radar, however, an exit negotiation could be difficult due to his contract with Paris Saint-Germain.
According to reports from The Guardian, Pochettino is unhappy in Paris, and wants to sever his ties at the Parc des Princes.
Despite only arriving back at the club in January, the 49-year-old has seen enough to indicate he is not the right fit.
PSG are fully prepared to hold Pochettino to the terms of his contract, which has two more years left to run on it, despite his keenness to rejoin Spurs.
Levy is willing to open a dialogue with the Parisians but a deal looks difficult from all sides.
The alternative current option to Pochettino could be Ajax head coach Ten Hag, who was linked with Spurs immediately after Mourinho’s exit and whom The Evening Standard say is the other most-desired option alongside Pochettino.
However, despite the initial speculation over a move for the Dutchman, Ajax reacted swiftly to activate an extension clause in his contract.
His deal at the Johan Cruyff Arena also runs until the end of the 2022/23, but the Eredivisie side do not have the same ability to hold on to him, as PSG do with Pochettino.
Ten Hag has established himself as one of the highest-rated young coaches in European football since taking over in 2017.
The 51-year-old has secured two league and cup doubles in three-and-a-half seasons and a Champions League semi-final place in 2019 – where they memorably lost to Pochettino’s Spurs.
However, due to their likely approaches for managers currently under contract elsewhere, talks and compensation packages could delay any announcement until later this month.