Tottenham call off Gennaro Gattuso talks as managerial pursuit hits new low

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Tottenham call off Gennaro Gattuso talks as managerial pursuit hits new low - REUTERS
Tottenham call off Gennaro Gattuso talks as managerial pursuit hits new low - REUTERS

Tottenham have re-started their search for a new manager after talks with Gennaro Gattuso broke down.

The Italian was in the frame for the job after Spurs pulled out of the race for Paulo Fonseca but his potential appointment was met with fierce criticism from fans. Gattuso was the fifth head coach considered by Daniel Levy but negotiations previously collapsed with Mauricio Pochettino and Antonio Conte and Erik ten Hag signed a new contract Ajax.

Gattuso had departed from Fiorentina after 22 days in charge and was known to new Spurs director of football Fabio Paratici but did not meet the approval of a fanbase, who have also been angered by Levy’s attempt to join the breakaway European Super League.

The hashtag #notoGattuso started trending on Thursday night as supporters vented their disapproval of the negotiations with the former Italy midfielder, with several voicing concerns about his past comments regarding women in football and same-sex marriage.

There were also several posts on Twitter pointing out his poor managerial record, having endured unimpressive stints with Pisa, AC Milan and Napoli before his short stay at Fiorentina.

“We can and do communicate supporter sentiment to the decision makers at the Club, and have done so very clearly on this occasion,” read a statement from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust. “We are aware of and acting on your concerns around potential managerial candidates.”

Ryan Mason took charge of the final matches of the season following Jose Mourinho’s dismissal two months ago. After a return for Pochettino was not possible and talks broke down with Conte, Fonseca was on the verge of taking charge this week.

The Portuguese coach had verbally agreed to take over and was left "shocked and very disappointed" by Spurs' decision, according to sources. Spurs had gone as far as to prepare Fonseca’s contract before the plug was pulled.

It is believed finances were not the reason for Spurs turning away from Fonseca, with football philosophy a bigger factor.

Spurs now face finding a new candidate ahead of pre-season starting next month, with the managers they have previously coveted - including Julian Nagelsmann and Thomas Tuchel - securing new jobs recently and unavailable. They retain interest in Ten Hag but would need to prise him out of Ajax by meeting his compensation figure.

Analysis: Spurs scraping the barrel with all top managers taken

Tottenham’s search for a new manager is now one of the most tortuous in recent seasons, with their attempts hampered by availability and agreeing on the suitability of candidates.

While Mourinho wasted no time in finding himself a new job at AS Roma, appointing his successor has been anything but straightforward.

Spurs chairman Levy can point to the managerial market as the biggest obstacle in finding Mourinho’s successor as Bayern Munich moved swiftly to land Nagelsmann from RB Leipzig.

Pochettino returning to the club after a spell at Paris Saint-Germain looked possible as the Argentinian failed to win Ligue 1, but the French club did not want him to leave mid-contract.

Paratici’s arrival as sporting director looked to have cleared a pathway for a new coach to arrive but no agreement could be made with Conte, then talks with Fonseca broke down and Gattuso was met with disapproval from supporters.

It means the next manager will know he was well down the list of targets when considering whether or not to move to Spurs, who will in the Europa Conference League next season rather than amongst the elite clubs of Europe.

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