Tottenham will discuss the merits of Mauricio Pochettino and Thomas Tuchel as the potential managerial successor to Antonio Conte, with whom the club are set to part company.
Conte, out of contract in June, has endured a traumatic season, undermined by bereavements and health problems and – with the team struggling – it has come to feel that a separation would be in everyone’s best interests.
The cleanest and favoured scenario is for it to come at the end of the campaign, although the board may act before then if the situation worsens. Conte’s team have suffered three bad results in a row, the first the 1-0 FA Cup defeat at Sheffield United on Wednesday of last week, which Harry Kane described as a “dagger in our hearts”.
Spurs lost 1-0 at Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday and drew 0-0 at home to Milan on Wednesday for a 1-0 Champions League last-16 aggregate exit. Conte was jeered by the crowd when he substituted Davinson Sánchez for Dejan Kulusevski late on. Spurs face Nottingham Forest at home on Saturday and another poor result would be unthinkable.
It would be a popular and emotional return for Pochettino, who managed Spurs from 2014 for five and a bit seasons. He overachieved in the Premier League, finishing third, second, third and fourth in seasons two to five, and reached the 2019 Champions League final, losing to Liverpool.
Out of work since his dismissal by Paris Saint-Germain last July, Pochettino wants to find a club for next season and has previously said that he would like to manage Spurs again. His next move will be shaped by what else is out there for him.
The same is true of Tuchel – also a free agent after his sacking by Chelsea last September. It is understood that Tuchel, who has said he followed Spurs as a boy, would prefer to remain in the Premier League.
The situation at Spurs with regard to recruitment is complicated by the managing director Fabio Paratici’s 30-month ban from working in Italy after his former club Juventus were found guilty of false accounting. The Italian Football Federation has started the process of taking its case to Fifa in order to ask that the sentence be applied worldwide. Juventus have denied wrongdoing and they and Paratici have appealed.