What next for Tottenham after pursuit of Antonio Conte fails?

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 12: FC Internazionale coach Antonio Conte shouts to his players during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 12, 2021 in Milan, Italy. Sporting stadiums around Italy remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
MILAN, ITALY - MAY 12: FC Internazionale coach Antonio Conte shouts to his players during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 12, 2021 in Milan, Italy. Sporting stadiums around Italy remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images) /
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It’s back to square one for Tottenham and their search to find a new manager after advanced discussions with Antonio Conte fell through. 

It turns out Conte’s stipulations were an order too tall for Tottenham’s hierarchy. Though demanding that Harry Kane not be sold is a rather unreasonable and unfeasible ultimatum. Conte can certainly be desirous of keeping Kane at Tottenham, but it’s impossible to insist on something that is, to a certain extent, also something the club is somewhat powerless to. If Kane decides he is going there is little Tottenham can do about it, unless Daniel Levy is willing to harm the club long term.

So where do Spurs stand on their search for a new manager now that both parties have walked away from the negotiating table?

It will be interesting to see if Mauricio Pochettino is still amenable to returning after Spurs made Conte their principal candidate. Tottenham’s decision to put Conte in their crosshairs as the frontrunner was also down to PSG’s reluctance — even defiance — to let their manager of only five months leave the French club.

If Levy has any chance of salvaging what could turn out to be another catastrophic debacle, he must do everything it takes to land Pochettino, and that includes paying an exorbitant compensation fee. Nothing else will now suffice.

Spurs have once again built feverish anticipation and expectation amongst supporters, who now expect an elite manager to take the helm. Imagine, after being a whisker away from signing Conte and Pochettino, Spurs resort to hiring Scott Parker or Graham Potter.

It would be a bitterly hard pill to swallow. The question is whether the latest advanced negotiations with Conte are going to hamper Spurs’ pursuit of Pochettino. You can definitely expect another attempt by Spurs to allure and entice the Argentine back to Hotspur Way.

Will Pochettino take offence to the fact he played second fiddle to Conte, or will he understand why Spurs focussed on the Italian?

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Let’s hope it’s the latter. Otherwise that sick feeling Tottenham supporters so often feel in the pit of their stomach will come flushing back with full force.