Tottenham Hotspur are expected to move on from Antonio Conte during the international break, with the Italian yet to return to N17 since he returned to his home country early last week.
Will Antonio Conte leave Spurs?
The Times have recently reported that the club remain locked in compensation talks with the 53-year-old and there is an expectation from players and staff that Conte will leave after his explosive tirade in the aftermath of Spurs’ latest draw with Southampton, where his side threw away a two-goal lead.
There are plenty of names among the list of potential candidates to replace the former Inter Milan boss, including Julian Nagelsmann – who chairman Daniel Levy was interested in as Mauricio Pochettino’s successor back in 2019 – after he was sacked and instantly replaced by Bayern Munich this week, with Thomas Tuchel taking the reins.
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Roberto De Zerbi and Burnley high-flier Vincent Kompany are two England-based candidates, whilst Feyenoord manager Arne Slot is another name on the list of possible successors.
Who is Arne Slot?
The Dutchman would certainly be an approach in a different direction for Levy and sporting director Fabio Paratici, with the pair opting for more dogmatic and defensively-minded appointments, as seen by Jose Mourinho, Nuno Espirito Santo and Conte.
Slot only began his managerial career around the time Spurs replaced the loveable Argentine with the ‘Special One’ but the Feyenoord tactician has emerged as one of the more exciting options across Europe.
The 44-year-old has impressed at De Kuip by instilling a vibrant, attacking system and at the end of his very first season in charge, he won the Eredivisie Manager of the Year award ahead of the likes of Erik ten Hag (Ajax, now at Manchester United) and Roger Schmidt (PSV Eindhoven), despite finishing third behind them both in the league standings.
It was largely down to the Rotterdam outfit’s exploits in the inaugural edition of the Europa Conference League, where Slot guided them to a final showdown with Mourinho’s AS Roma, but lost 1-0.
By deploying a 4-2-3-1 for the most part, Feyenoord have been able to dominate possession. The full-backs are given license to push forward, whilst the goalkeeper acts as a sweeper between the two centre-backs. The team must also press hard out of possession.
It’s fast, daring and exciting – only Ajax have averaged more progressive passes (56.8) and touches (700.1) per 90 than De Stadionclub in the Dutch top-flight this term, via FBref.
This “attack-minded” play – as lauded by the 44-year-old himself – is a stark contrast to that of Conte at Spurs, who have often been outfought and outplayed this season.
Tottenham are seventh in the Premier League for progressive passes, averaging a lower 40.4 per 90, whilst seven other teams manage more touches per 90 (636.9), including an inconsistent Leicester City outfit, also via FBref.
Slot is able to deploy such a system and still be “difficult to beat” – in his own words again – so it could be a perfect oasis for Levy and Paratici, and that is reinforced by the fact that Feyenoord average more tackles and interceptions per 90 (24.8 vs 26.3) and fewer expected goals against (xGA) – by a whopping 11.2 goals overall – this season.
On the above evidence, the flying Dutchman is the complete antithesis of Conte and that’s exactly what is needed to spark a revival around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, both on and off the pitch.
Slot could well bring a reinvigorated outlook to a Spurs team deprived of creativity and starved of attacking nous, should the club’s board look to him in the coming weeks.