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Men’s football Nuno could be the man to pick up where Poch left off

Forget the press conference antics of Jose Mourinho: Spurs’ new manager is already quietly going about his business, rebuilding a squad that went stale long ago. Fans are desperate for it to pay off, writes BELLA KATZ

AFTER 72 days managerless, Spurs appointed Nuno Espirito Santo as head coach — having sacked Jose Mourinho just days before their League Cup Final clash against Man City.

At Tottenham, the age-old question whenever a new manager comes in is: will they be backed by the chairman? To put it nicely, the team has gone stale and is desperate for the rebuild that has been discussed for years, since Mauricio Pochettino left in 2019.

Nuno has the qualities of a great manager; similar to Pochettino he makes the players feel as though they are part of something bigger, which is both motivating and unifying. It will of course take time for him to build an atmosphere in the dressing room and a relationship with the players, but one would hope that a full pre-season would give him the time and ability to get that started.

Fans shouldn’t expect the insight and the humour that Mourinho’s press conferences provided, but something more subtle, as Nuno notoriously dislikes dealing with the media in tasks such as press conferences and interviews.

But as for strategy on the pitch, Japhet Tanganga recently told journalist Alasdair Gold that Spurs will return to a more attacking style of play under Nuno.

“I can tell you for sure that we’re going to be attacking,” the defender said. “That’s because we’ve been working hard on it in training and on pressing, and implementing his ideas.”

It will be interesting to see how newly appointed managing director of football Fabio Paratici asserts himself in terms of transfers after almost 11 years at Juventus as chief football officer. 

He made a number of huge signings, including Cristiano Ronaldo for £99.2 million in 2018, but he also appears to be a master in pulling off good-value deals, which will be music to Daniel Levy’s ears. 

If the “painful rebuild” is finally underway, Paratici appears to be the right man for the job. Soon after his arrival, he reportedly told a number of players that they can look at leaving the club this summer. 

The Athletic reported that Toby Alderweireld, a veteran of the club, has asked to leave Tottenham this summer after six years’ service. 

Others expected to depart include Moussa Sissoko, Serge Aurier, Harry Winks and possibly even Lucas Moura.

Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini is the first new signing under Nuno and Paratici, on a season-long loan deal with the option to buy next summer for £13m, making him a possible replacement for captain Hugo Lloris.

Journalist Fabrizio Romano reported that a swap deal is set to be announced in the coming days that consists of Erik Lamela plus €25m to Sevilla, and Spanish winger Bryan Gil to Spurs.
So, just over three weeks into the role, Paratici seems to have been busy.

The inclusion and development of academy players is speculative but quite likely under Nuno. During his three seasons in charge at Wolves he gave debuts to 14 different players under 22 years of age in the Premier League.

Youngsters Oliver Skipp, Dane Scarlett and Ryan Sessegnon are all likely to feature in the coming season.

Nuno caught people’s eye with his success at Wolves, giving them their three best finishes in over 40 years. Spurs fans will be hoping for something similar.


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