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    Tottenham line up ambitious move for Zinedine Zidane to replace Antonio Conte as manager

    TOTTENHAM are being linked with a move for Zinedine Zidane as they search for a new manager following Antonio Conte’s departure.Conte, 53, left by mutual consent on Sunday evening after a 16-month stint in charge of the club.
    Zinedine Zidane is being linked with succeeding Antonio ConteCredit: AP
    Conte left Spurs following explosive comments before the international breakCredit: PA
    He exited under a cloud following a rant about the players and club in the wake of a 3-3 draw with Southampton before the international break.
    But now his departure has been confirmed, a number of candidates are being linked with the role.
    Spurs have given themselves time to appoint a long-term successor after handing the caretaker role to Cristian Stellini until the end of the season.
    But a permanent replacement remains the focus for Tottenham chiefs.
    And a return for Mauricio Pochettino is one of the possible options for the summer.
    Former Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann and ex-Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique have also been mooted.
    But according to Sky Sports Italia, Real Madrid legend Zidane is also on Spurs’ shortlist.
    The 50-year-old has been out of work since leaving Los Blancos for the second time at the end of the 2020/21 season.
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    During his first spell in charge at the Bernabeu, he won an incredible three Champions Leagues in a row.
    It was widely reported he was holding out for the France job under the assumption Didier Deschamps would leave after the Qatar World Cup.

    But after guiding Les Bleus to a second successive World Cup final, Deschamps penned a new deal to keep him in the job until 2026.
    Zidane has also been linked with the PSG job should Christophe Galtier be sacked at the end of the season. More

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    Chelsea ‘could hijack Tottenham’s pursuit of Julian Nagelsmann with Real Madrid also circling German manager’

    CHELSEA could hijack Tottenham’s pursuit of Julian Nagelsmann, according to reports. Nagelsmann was surprisingly sacked by Bayern Munich last week, kick starting a manager rumour mill.
    Julian Nagelsmann has been linked with Tottenham and ChelseaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Chelsea could move for Nagelsmann if they part ways with Graham PotterCredit: Alamy
    The German remains one of the most sought-after coaches in football.
    And Antonio Conte’s departure from Tottenham has seen Nagelsmann linked with North London gig.
    Chairman Daniel Levy is said to have made Nagelsmann the club’s top target, with reports suggesting contact has been made between the two parties.
    However, the Daily Mail report they could face competition from Chelsea.
    They report Nagelsmann has admirers at Stamford Bridge and he would be of interest to the Blues hierarchy if they decide to part ways with under-fire boss Graham Potter.
    A recent upturn in results saw the pressure eased on the Englishman.
    But should form turn negative before the end of the season Todd Boehly and Co may reportedly opt for a change in leadership.
    In addition, Spurs are set to face competition from Real Madrid with Carlo Ancelotti tipped to end his reign at the Bernabeu this summer.
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    As their search for a new manager continues, Cristian Stellini has been appointed as caretaker boss until the end of the season.
    Despite a Champions League spot being at stake, Tottenham will not rush into a hasty appointment.
    As well as Nagelsmann, available free agent coaches including fan favourite Mauricio Pochettino and ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique have been linked. More

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    Tottenham urged to appoint Spain legend as Antonio Conte’s successor as fans would ‘love brand of football’

    CHRIS SUTTON believes he knows who should succeed Antonio Conte at Tottenham because of his style of football.Conte, 53, parted ways with Spurs at the weekend after 16 months in charge.
    Antonio Conte departed Tottenham on Sunday eveningCredit: Reuters
    His exit came following a startling rant about his players and the club in the wake of their 3-3 draw with Southampton before the international break.
    Conte’s failure to deliver Tottenham their first trophy in 15 years was exacerbated by his conservative approach to games.
    A number of front-foot managers have been touted with the role in the wake of his departure including ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino and Julian Nagelsmann – recently sacked by Bayern Munich.
    A permanent manager is expected to be appointed in the summer as Cristian Stellini leads the club until the end of the season.
    Luis Enrique is one naming being touted with the vacant Spurs jobCredit: PA
    But Blackburn and Celtic legend Sutton feels former Barcelona and Spain head coach Luis Enrique would be the perfect antidote to the Conte regime.
    Speaking to The Mail, he said: “I think what is really important for Spurs, this was always a criticism of Conte, the brand of football was negative, from the start of the season how many times have you seen Spurs play an exciting brand of football.
    “That’s why Luis Enrique ticks that box. I think Mauricio Pochettino is a really interesting one because I suspect a lot of Spurs fans like the idea of him returning and that love story of him having a second opportunity. 
    “But I suspect there are Spurs fans who may feel slightly peeved at the way that he left and maybe don’t want to go back there.”
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    He then went on to add: “I suspect this appointment will be about brand of football more than anything and what the Spurs fans demand.
    “Then if trophies don’t come Daniel Levy can have the out of saying I am giving you what you want in terms of brand of football, this is the identity we have had since the 70s/80s and want to get back to that. 
    “In terms of brand of football I think they would love Enrique.”
    Enrique won the treble with Barcelona in 2015, leaving the club with two LaLiga titles, three Copa del Reys and the Champions League.
    He was sacked by Spain at the end of last year following a semi-final exit to Italy at the Euros and last-16 loss to Morocco at the World Cup.
    Nagelsmann is the early favourite with the bookies to assume the vacant Spurs role come the end of the season.
    Pochettino and Enrique are other names in the frame, while the other possible contenders Marco Silva, Ange Postecoglou, Ruben Amorim and Roberto De Zerbi are all in jobs elsewhere. More

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    Tottenham stars back decision to axe Conte and bring in Stellini as Spurs hold talks with Nagelsmann over vacant job

    TOTTENHAM stars are backing the gamble to put popular coach Cristian Stellini in charge of their Champions League hunt.Some of the squad were glad to see the back of manager Antonio Conte, who left the club on Sunday night.
    Julian Nagelsmann is linked with the Spurs jobCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    Antonio Conte has left Spurs after blasting the players and ambitionsCredit: Rex
    The fiery Italian yesterday appeared to aim a dig at his former chiefs via a goodbye statement.
    He thanked “everyone at Spurs who appreciated and shared my passion and my intense way of living football as a coach”.
    It came after ripping into his players for being ‘selfish’ in an explosive final press conference at Southampton, on the back of his team surrendering a 3-1 lead to draw.
    Despite the likes of Julian Nagelsmann, Luis Enrique and former boss Mauricio Pochettino being free agents, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is sticking with Conte’s former No 2 Stellini until the end of the season.
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    The 48-year-old is well-liked among the squad and was seen as a calm head when stepping in during Conte’s absence earlier this season.
    His task now is to keep their place in the top four, with fifth-placed Newcastle just two points behind them — and with two games in hand.
    Stellini oversaw the vital 2-1 Champions League win in Marseille in September when Conte was serving a touchline ban.
    He also helped secure wins against Manchester City, Chelsea and West Ham while his boss was recovering from surgery.
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    Spurs have already spoken to sacked Bayern Munich boss Nagelsmann — and Levy will now assess other options.
    Some players grew tired of Conte’s training and the way he put the blame on them in public.
    Spurs’ internationals will start arriving back at Hotspur Way tomorrow and begin preparations for their next Prem match at Everton on Monday.
    Meanwhile, the preliminary hearing in the Court of Turin regarding whether there should be a criminal trial into allegations of malpractice at Juventus was supposed to begin yesterday — but has been postponed until May 10.
    Spurs’ managing director of football Fabio Paratici is one of the defendants and is waiting to discover if his 30-month suspension will become a global ban.
    Cristian Stellini is taking charge of SpursCredit: PA More

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    Tottenham’s crisis move seems like club have given up on top four – and it could convince Kane his future lies elsewhere

    EIGHT days after Antonio Conte had torched Tottenham, they finally got round to  sacking the incendiary Italian.They did so under cover of darkness on Sunday night, with a brief, embarrassed statement, on the day their greatest ever goalscorer had been awarded a golden boot on the  Wembley pitch to commemorate becoming England’s all-time leading scorer.
    Tottenham star Harry Kane may leave if the club doesn’t show directionCredit: Getty
    And after Conte had detonated his stink bomb — claiming his players  were a bunch of “selfish” individuals with no heart — the Daniel Levy brains trust has decreed that the best man to fumigate the dressing-room is  . . . drum roll . . . the Italian’s best mate Cristian Stellini.
    It might have escaped your notice but Spurs are still locked in an almighty battle against Newcastle, Liverpool and Brighton to secure Champions League football for next season.
    And that several elite managers, like Julian Nagelsmann, Maurico Pochettino and Luis Enrique, are out of work and could potentially have taken charge of Spurs straight away.
    And that Harry Kane has just a year left on his contract and is desperate to hear any evidence of a sense of direction from his beloved club.
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    Instead, he hears of Stellini’s appointment and stories of Spurs drawing up a “shortlist” of up to 10 for the role of Conte’s permanent successor — begging the question, “How long can a shortlist be before it becomes a longlist?”
    For several months, Spurs have known Conte would not be in charge next  season. So some sort of succession plan might have been useful.
    This is the second time in three seasons that Spurs appear to have written off their season prematurely.
    Jose Mourinho was axed less than a week before he was due to lead the team out for the 2021 League Cup final against Manchester City.
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    On that occasion, Ryan Mason was handed the caretaker duties and the former England midfielder would have been a more obvious candidate this time, given Stellini’s close friendship with the verbal arsonist who has just left the burnt-out building.
    The ex-Genoa defender, 48, is a lovely bloke, very popular with players and the media, but he has a murky past, including a conviction for alleged match-fixing at Italian club Bari which earned him a ban of two-and-a-half years.
    His only brief managerial experience came at third-flight club Alessandria in 2017, where he was sacked after three wins in 16 games.
    Yet now he must scrap it out with Jurgen Klopp, Geordie Arabia and a brilliant Brighton side for fourth in the Premier League. It’s certainly a leap of faith.
    Tottenham sacked Antonio Conte and replaced him with his assistantCredit: AP
    Stellini deputised while 53-year-old Conte was recuperating from gallbladder surgery with mixed results, from an impressive win over champions City to a depressing FA Cup exit at Championship side Sheffield United.
    Yet Conte was still in remote control from his sickbed then, now his chum is in full charge for a run-in which includes April dates with all three of Tottenham’s direct rivals for fourth place.
    Stellini’s appointment for the remainder of this season is bad news for former boss Pochettino and the many Spurs fans who craved his return.
    The Argentinian — a runner-up in the Champions League and Premier League as Spurs chief — would have accepted the job immediately.
    So too would former Barcelona and Spain boss Enrique, a coach who favours expansive, attacking football and would fit into the To Dare Is To Do ethos, which Spurs sporadically claim to be important.
    Nagelsmann, sacked by Bayern Munich on Friday, was Levy’s No 1 target after Mourinho’s sacking but was soon appointed by Germany’s dominant club.
    Tottenham have targeted Julian Nagelsmann as Antonio Conte’s replacementCredit: PA
    Still only 35, this skateboarder dude who left his wife for a tabloid journalist, is a colourful, tactically-intelligent, self-confident and abrasive individual, who would surely soon end up feeling the same frustrations about life at Tottenham as Conte and Mourinho did.
    Now there is a (remote) possibility that Levy has a masterplan up his sleeve.
    That an agreement for the summer appointment of Nagelsmann or a manager currently in employment — such as the Seagulls’ Roberto De Zerbi, Thomas Frank of Brentford, Fulham’s Marco Silva or Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou — is already in place.
    But given Tottenham’s track record this is unlikely.
    When Mourinho was sacked, they embarked on a desperate 72-day hunt for a new permanent boss — taking in Conte, Pochettino, Erik ten Hag, Julen Lopetegui, Hansi Flick, Paulo Fonseca, Gennaro  Gattuso, Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grub — before they stumbled upon Nuno Espirito Santo.
    That was the summer when Kane was attempting to leave, as revealed in a TV interview with Gary Neville over a round of golf, when the England striker managed to stand over a birdie putt on the first green before spilling his guts about his frustrations with Tottenham.
    Cristian Stellini has replaced Antonio Conte as Tottenham boss until the end of the seasonCredit: AP
    Back then, Kane had three years left on his contract and Spurs were able to resist a £100million bid from City.
    This time Manchester United is his most likely destination and a hefty offer would be more difficult to resist.
    Kane studiously avoided journalists and dodged most of his usual media duties throughout last week’s international duty, knowing that Conte’s future, and his  explosive comments after the tossing away of a two-goal lead at Southampton, would be top of the agenda.
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    Now Kane, 29, will return to his club after an historic international break, and recognise the familiar stench left behind by another managerial firestorm.
    The England captain will surely be booking another tee time with Neville, studying the jailbreak scenes in The Shawshank Redemption, or penning a more traditional transfer request before long. More

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    Antonio Conte breaks silence after Spurs axe as he aims thinly-veiled dig at club

    ANTONIO CONTE has broken his silence following his axing at Tottenham as he thanked fans – but also appeared to throw a thinly-veiled jibe in the club’s direction. The Italian left Spurs yesterday after a week of speculation that he was set to be dismissed.
    Antonio Conte’s time at Spurs finally came to an end yesterdayCredit: AFP
    The announcement came last night eight days after Conte’s final game in charge – a chaotic 3-3 draw with Southampton.
    The 53-year-old has now released a statement on his Instagram page 24 hours later as he thanked Spurs supporters in a classy message but also seemed to fire a barb at the club.
    He said: “Football is passion. I would like to deeply thank everyone at Spurs who appreciated and shared my passion and my intense way of living football as a coach.”
    His intriguing comment comes after his fiery rant where he attacked “selfish” players and hit out at the club’s lack of success.
    Reports in the next few days indicated that his relationship with the players had completely broken down with several wanting him sacked.
    Conte added: “A special thought to the fans who always showed me support and appreciation, it’s been unforgettable to hear them singing my name.
    “Our journey together has ended, I wish you all the best for the future.”
    Conte was appointed head coach in November 2021 as he looked to steady the ship after Nuno Espirito Santo’s brief but troubled reign.
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    He managed to get the club into the top four despite their poor start but fans quickly grew uneasy about the style of football.
    Concerns over the manager from sections of the fanbase only grew this season while results grew increasingly inconsistent.
    Conte also had to deal with health issues which saw him miss a handful of games earlier this year.
    The former Chelsea manager often voiced frustration with the club and transfers during press conferences.
    His grievances reached a head following last week’s game at St Mary’s when Conte unleased his now infamous rant.
    His replacement until the end of the season will be Cristian Stellini, the assistant manager who had to stand in for the boss while he underwent and recovered from gallbladder surgery.
    The north London club are reported to be in no rush to find a permanent successor.
    This is despite the fact that three of the biggest names linked to the hot seat – Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann – are all currently free agents.
    It is possible several big clubs could be soon looking at the trio with the sackings of Nagelsmann and Conte over the past few days potentially triggering a managerial merry-go round in Europe. More

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    Tottenham in no rush to appoint Antonio Conte replacement with THREE free agent bosses on shortlist as replacement

    TOTTENHAM will not rush into finding Antonio Conte’s permanent successor – despite three candidates being currently out of work.Antonio Conte finally left the club late on Sunday night with his assistant Cristian Stellini put in caretaker charge until the end of the season.
    Daniel Levy has a managerial headache on his handsCredit: AFP
    It comes after Tottenham parted ways with Antonio ConteCredit: AFP
    Mauricio Pochettino is among the front runnersCredit: Reuters
    Luis Enrique is one big name coach linked with the Spurs gigCredit: Reuters
    Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will assess possible candidates between now and the summer but it has effectively parked their search for the man they want long-term until then.
    Mauricio Pochettino, Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann – who are all under consideration for the vacancy – are currently free agents.
    Though the anticipated managerial merry-go-round in Europe is set to play a big part in the process too.
    A number of big jobs are expected to become available in the close-season.
    Carlo Ancelotti has been widely tipped to leave Real Madrid, while the likes of Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Roma and the two Milan clubs could all be looking for new bosses.
    Pochettino, Enrique and Nagelsmann would all be in the frame for some if not all those roles.
    It means Spurs may have to wait to battle it out with those clubs in the summer for any of the trio, should they choose to go for them.
    Bayern Munich already took Thomas Tuchel off the table, having sacked Nagelsmann and appointed the ex-Chelsea boss in his place last week.
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    While the possible contenders Marco Silva, Ange Postecoglou, Ruben Amorim and Roberto De Zerbi are all currently in jobs elsewhere.
    Conte, 53, will no doubt be one of the leading names in the hat should any roles emerge in Italy.
    His reputation in England may have been diminished somewhat from his time at Spurs but he is still highly-regarded in his homeland, where he won Serie A with Inter in 2021.
    Many were expecting Conte’s backroom staff to leave with him, but only his brother Gianluca Conte, his trusted technical and analytics coach followed him out the exit door.
    It means the likes of goalkeeping coach Marco Savorani, set-piece specialist Gianni Vio and fitness coaches Stefano Bruno and Costantino Coratti have all stayed to help caretaker Stellini for the final ten games of the season.
    Their contracts are up in the summer.
    First-team coach Ryan Mason will assist Stellini and both are popular among the squad, who had grown tired of Conte’s repetitive training sessions and the way he put the blame largely on them in public, rather than taking responsibility himself.
    That was never more the case than his final, explosive press conference at Southampton last Saturday, where he accused his players of being “selfish” after they had surrendered a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3.
    A statement from the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust thanked Conte for his hard work but called on Levy to pick a successor whose style of play reflects the club’s tradition of exciting football.
    The THST statement read: “At the end of the 2020-21 season in May, chairman Daniel Levy told supporters the club would focus on the recruitment of a head coach saying they were ‘acutely aware of the need to select someone whose values reflect those of our great club and a return to playing football with the style for which we are known’.
    “Many supporters will feel the appointments of Nuno Espirito Santo and then Antonio Conte following Jose Mourinho’s spell do not reflect the promises made above.
    “In the same statement, Mr Levy said: ‘I feel we lost sight of some key priorities and what’s truly in our DNA.’
    “As another season without silverware comes to an end, we would urge the club board to reassess those priorities before appointing a manager the entire fanbase will get behind, and building a team that can truly challenge for domestic and European honours, respecting the traditions of our football club.”

    Meanwhile, the preliminary hearing in the Court of Turin regarding whether there should be a criminal trial into allegations of malpractice at Juventus was supposed to begin today but was postponed until May 10.
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    Spurs’ managing director of football Fabio Paratici, banned in January for two-and-a-half years by the Italian Football Federation for his part in Juve’s alleged financial irregularities and accounting scandal, is one of the defendants.
    Paratici is still waiting to discover if his 30-month suspension will be extended to a global ban and if so, his role at Spurs will surely become untenable.
    Julian Nagelsmann has popped onto Tottenham’s radar after his sacking by Bayern MunichCredit: PA
    Cristian Stellini was put in charge until the end of the seasonCredit: AP More

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    Emerson Royal set to miss most of season after surgery on knee injury in huge blow to Tottenham

    EMERSON ROYAL is set to have surgery after damaging his knee playing for Brazil.The Tottenham full-back, 24, limped off during the Samba Boys’ 2-1 friendly defeat against Morocco on Saturday.
    Tottenham defender Emerson Royal is set to miss the remainder of the seasonCredit: GETTY
    Royal will undergo surgery on his knee after damaging it on international duty with BrazilCredit: EPA
    He will now go under the knife in London with his recovery time expected to take up to six weeks.
    That time frame should mean he will be back for the final few games of the season but he will miss a significant chunk of their remaining ten fixtures.
    Royal had only just earned a recall to his national side after a barnstorming February for his club, in which he was nominated for the Premier League’s player of the month.
    He scored the opener in the 2-0 win over West Ham that month and was a key player in the 1-0 win over Manchester City.
    Yet he had been left out of the starting line-up in favour of January signing Pedro Porro.
    Tottenham are currently managerless following Antonio Conte’s departure on Sunday night.
    The Italian was relieved of his duties after weeks of brutally criticising the Spurs brass and players in the press.
    Royal had a good relationship with his former manager, despite admitting he could be very “explosive.”
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    Tottenham parted company with Antonio Conte on Sunday nightCredit: AFP
    He told Globo Esporte: “As for Conte, I have a good relationship with him, he’s not that coach that we have a very close relationship with, of talking a lot, it’s his way,
    “He’s a coach who wants to help everyone, instructs, he shows the role he wants in each one’s game.
    “I don’t see any problem, I have a good relationship with him.
    “Conte is a coach who has this explosive side of him, a personality he created, but he is a coach who tries to help us as much as possible.”
    Tottenham will be back in action next Monday, travelling to Goodison Park to take on Premier League strugglers Everton. More