London (AFP) – Tottenham are in advanced talks to make Antonio Conte their new manager after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo, according to widespread reports on Monday.
Former Inter Milan and Chelsea boss Conte is understood to be Tottenham’s top target to replace Nuno, who was dismissed on Monday after just four months in charge of the Premier League club.
Tottenham had approached Conte about succeeding the axed Jose Mourinho earlier this year but were unable to convince the Italian to take the job.
Reports suggested the Italian could be appointed within the next 24 hours.
If the 52-year-old accepts Tottenham’s offer, Conte would return to the Premier League three years after leaving their London rivals Chelsea, where he won the Premier League and the FA Cup.
Conte guided Inter Milan to the Serie A title last season but surprisingly left during the close-season.
The former Italy midfielder has also managed Juventus, where he won three Serie A titles, and took charge of the Italian national team from 2014 to 2016.
Nuno’s sacking came just two days after Tottenham’s woeful 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester United.
It was Tottenham’s fifth defeat in their past seven league games and the toxic reaction to the Portuguese coach at the stadium proved the final straw for chairman Daniel Levy.
With Tottenham languishing in eighth place, Levy and director of football Fabio Paratici are understood to have met on Sunday to discuss the 47-year-old’s fate.
Confirming Nuno’s departure after only 17 games, a statement from Tottenham on Monday said: “The club can today announce that Nuno Espirito Santo and his coaching staff Ian Cathro, Rui Barbosa and Antonio Dias have been relieved of their duties.”
Tottenham added that “a further coaching update will follow in due course”.
Former Wolves boss Nuno had been hired in June after Tottenham failed to lure a host of other candidates to replace Mourinho.
Conte would be tasked with ensuring Tottenham play more adventurous football than the dour fare served up by the tactically conservative Nuno.
He would also have to get the best out of England captain Harry Kane, who has struggled to hit top form since his attempt to engineer a move to Manchester City was rebuffed by Levy.