Erik ten Hag among leading Tottenham contenders after Bayern Munich appoint Julian Nagelsmann

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Matt Law
·2-min read
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Ten Hag will only have a year remaining on his Ajax contract at the end of the season - AP
Ten Hag will only have a year remaining on his Ajax contract at the end of the season - AP

Tottenham Hotspur have suffered an early blow in their attempt to replace Jose Mourinho, after Bayern Munich announced the Premier League club’s top target Julian Nagelsmann will become their new head coach next season.

And that will only increase the pressure on Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who was already facing calls to go from supporters who were angered by the club’s involvement in the failed European Super League plan.

Ajax manager Erik ten Hag is now expected to move up Tottenham’s list of targets, which is also understood to include Ralf Rangnick, while there is admiration for England manager Gareth Southgate.

Mourinho was sacked last week by Tottenham, who hoped to join the front of the queue for Nagelsmann but the Bayern confirmed on Tuesday the RB Leipzig manager will succeed Hansi Flick.

Nagelsmann, 33, had been identified as the perfect candidate to reintroduce an exciting, progressive brand of football to Tottenham next season, something ten Hag could also promise.

It was under ten Hag that Ajax reached the Champions League semi-finals two years ago which they lost to Spurs, then managed by Mauricio Pochettino, and the Dutch club are comfortably in the lead in the Eredivisie table again this season.

Ten Hag will only have a year remaining on his Ajax contract at the end of the season, meaning any compensation fee should not be out of Tottenham’s reach.

Tottenham considered Rangnick, who is currently out of work, before hiring Andre Villas-Boas in 2012 and the German, who last managed RB Leipzig in 2019, was considered for the Chelsea post earlier this year before the club appointed Thomas Tuchel.

Rangnick is credited with influencing the likes of Nagelsmann, Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp and Ralph Hassenhuttl, and has also been a director of football, as well as a manager.

Southgate is well liked by Tottenham and his close relationship with Harry Kane means that he would have at least one high-profile supporter inside the club’s dressing-room.

But England’s involvement in the European Championships would complicate any approach and Southgate is believed to be keen to remain in his role for the next World Cup in Qatar in 2022.

Brendan Rodgers, who would be among Tottenham’s top targets, is not thought to be interested in leaving Leicester City at this point in time with the club in the final of the FA Cup and competing for Champions League qualification for next season.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez is believed to be keen on a return to club management after the Euros, but, as in the case of Southgate, Tottenham would have difficulties in making a firm approach before the end of the tournament.