Tottenham have held initial talks with Antonio Conte about their vacant head coach position, with the Italian emerging as a strong contender for the position.
Spurs are still without a manager despite sacking Jose Mourinho on April 19 having missed out on appointing their top two targets Julian Nagelsmann and Brendan Rodgers.
It is understood initial contact between former Chelsea manager Conte and Tottenham has taken place with both parties believed to be open to a deal.
Importantly, Daniel Levy is understood to be behind the prospect of appointing the Italian, despite his history with Tottenham’s arch rivals.
Spurs have also explored the possibility of bringing Mauricio Pochettino back to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – but luring him from his current position at Paris Saint-Germain is proving complex.
The French club insist Pochettino is staying and have even triggered an extra year on his contract adding another layer of difficulty in trying to extracting the Argentine from his current contract.
For Pochettino to be appointed Mourinho’s successor, it would require the former Southampton to boss to walk away from his job in France.
Even then, Tottenham would be required to pay a level of compensation to PSG owing to the notice period in his current contract.
Appointing Conte would prove far simpler given he is currently a free agent after leaving Inter Milan last month despite leading the club to their first Serve A title since 2010.
The fact he has experience of the Premier League, winning the title with Chelsea during his first season in charge, is an obvious attraction.
Juventus’ administrator Fabio Paratici has been linked with a move to Spurs with Conte.
Conte quit as Inter Milan boss just a week after masterminding their first Scudetto win in nine years – with the Italian said to have grown frustrated with the club’s lack of financial resources.
He was reportedly hoping to spend big this summer in a bid to ensure the club retain their grip on the Scudetto, but Inter are feeling the effects of the Covid pandemic and are being forced to cash in on a number of players.
As part of the termination of his contract, Conte is now barred from taking over another Italian side during the 2021-22 campaign.
The Italian appeared earlier this week to be enjoying some time away from the game, posting an image on Instagram of him with a snorkelling mask captioned: ‘Me and the sea’.
Conte spent two seasons in west London with Chelsea after joining the Stamford Bridge outfit following a Euro 2016 campaign with Italy.
He won the Premier League in his first season in England, and followed it up with FA Cup glory in the following campaign after their 1-0 win against Manchester United in the final at Wembley.
However, he was relieved of his duties a couple of months later, with compatriot Maurizio Sarri brought in to replace him.
Conte would not be the first former Chelsea boss this century to manage their London rivals, with Andre Villas-Boas having spent a season each at both clubs, while Mourinho had two stints at Stamford Bridge prior to joining Spurs in November 2019.
Conte may not be the only Italian at Tottenham, with reports having also linked the club with former Juventus chief Fabio Paratici, who will depart the Allianz Stadium after 11 years at the club upon the expiration of his deal at the end of the month.
Paratici was previously Chief Football Officer for Juventus and worked with Conte at the club, and could now be the answer to Spurs’ search for a director of football.
However, the 48-year-old has received plenty of criticism in his final year in Turin, with the some of the recruits over the last couple of years – Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Arthur – yet to live up to expectation.
Conte meanwhile was also linked with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, but the former have now hired Carlo Ancelotti while the latter are determined to keep hold of Pochettino.