After three days of flirtation with Paulo Fonseca, it is time for Tottenham Hotspur to kick the tires on another managerial candidate, with Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui entering the frame.
Depending on where you look, it was either Duncan Castles on the Transfer Window Podcast or Mundo Deportivo that broke the latest hot gossip. Either way, it is yet another name in what has been an almost comical pursuit of a new manager. Fonseca was most recently in Italy where his contract ran out with Roma, while the new target Lopetegui is in Spain, still employed by Sevilla.
Lopetegui is intriguing for Tottenham
Julen Lopetegui has been involved in coaching football for almost 20 years, having started his career as an assistant manager in 2002 at Rayo Vallecano. Currently Lopetegui is the manager of Sevilla, where he took over in July 2019 and is contracted until 2024.
Lopetegui has had some very big jobs, leading Spain at three youth ages while even managing La Furia Roja for 20 matches from 2016-2018. At club level, he held the reigns at FC Porto for two seasons (2014-2016) and even spent four months in charge at Real Madrid.
The point is Lopetegui is no stranger to big clubs.
Beyond a few big stops on his CV, Lopetegui has won three trophies, two of which for youth teams. Regardless of the age group, winning the European Championship, which he did with Spain’s U-21 and U-19 teams, is one heck of a feat.
Lopetegui led Sevilla to the 2019 Europa League title with a familiar left back, Sergio Reguilon, when he was on loan from Real Madrid. This past season Sevilla finished fourth in La Liga and qualified for next season’s Champions League. Herein lies the problem with this rumor.
Is Sevilla in a better place than Tottenham?
Lopetegui is an intriguing option for Spurs. The question is whether the Lilywhites are an intriguing option for Lopetegui. Contract or not, the man stays at most jobs two seasons and has now hit that at Sevilla, so, based on his customary tenure length, it looks like he may be ready to jump ship.
However, Sevilla has Champions League football next season to look forward to, which is far better than a playoff opportunity to qualify for the brand new third-tier Europa Conference League.
Of course in football what constitutes a challenge means different things to different people. That would likely be the tact Spurs would have to take with Lopetegui to pry him away from Sevilla.
While the odds of that happening are pretty slim, this is one rumor that is worth lighting a fire under, as Lopetegui could be that 7th choice champ we have all been looking for. Or we could have bachelor number 8 come Sunday or Monday.