London (AFP) – Tottenham are reportedly in advanced talks with Antonio Conte over the manager’s job after sacking Nuno Espirito Santo on Monday following a dismal run of results in the Premier League.
Former Inter Milan and Chelsea boss Conte is understood to be the top target for the London club, who dismissed Nuno on Monday after just four months in charge.
Spurs had approached Conte about succeeding the axed Jose Mourinho earlier this year but were unable to convince the Italian to take the job.
If the 52-year-old accepts Tottenham’s offer, he 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, who has also managed Juventus and Italy, guided Inter to the Serie A title last season but surprisingly left shortly afterwards.
Nuno’s sacking came two days after Tottenham’s woeful 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester United, who have themselves struggled in recent weeks.
It was Spurs’ fifth defeat in their past seven league games and the toxic reaction to the Portuguese coach at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium proved the final straw for chairman Daniel Levy.
A club statement on Monday said Nuno and his coaching staff had been “relieved of their duties”.
“I know how much Nuno and his coaching staff wanted to succeed and I regret that we have had to take this decision,” Tottenham director of football Fabio Paratici said.
“Nuno is a true gentleman and will always be welcome here. We should like to thank him and his coaching staff and wish them well for the future.”
Spurs said a further update would follow in due course.
Tottenham, who have not won silverware since 2008, reached the Champions League final as recently as 2019 under former boss Mauricio Pochettino, who is now in charge of Paris Saint-Germain.
But the club, who regularly finished in the top four under Pochettino, have lost their way since then and have missed out on the Champions League for two consecutive seasons.
– Nuno record –
Nuno, 47, was announced as the new Spurs boss on June 30, replacing Mourinho, who was sacked in April.
Tottenham topped the Premier League table after three 1-0 wins at the start of the season, including a victory over defending champions Manchester City, but results rapidly deteriorated.
They have lost five of their past seven league matches and are eighth in the table, 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.
Nuno lost seven of his 17 games in charge and former Tottenham star Gary Lineker tweeted: “Nuno has been fired. @SpursOfficial are something of a shambles at present.”
A statement from Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust said the organisation took no pleasure in Nuno’s departure.
“Nuno Espirito Santo conducted himself with integrity, good grace and civility throughout his short time at Spurs,” it said. “And although clearly not the right fit for Tottenham, we wish him and his coaching staff… well for the future.”
If appointed, Conte would be tasked with ensuring Tottenham play more adventurous football at their gleaming new stadium 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 looked a shadow of his former self since his attempt to engineer a move to Manchester City was rebuffed by Levy.