Reports by 90min over the weekend claimed Tottenham Hotspur may target Carlo Ancelotti should Daniel Levy look to replace Jose Mourinho, but Farhad Moshiri cannot allow the Everton head coach to leave Goodison Park.
Doubts have arisen in Mourinho’s tenure in north London after an inconsistent run of form has seen Spurs crash out of the Europa League to Slavia Prague, despite taking a two-goal lead to Croatia.
The result frustrated sections of Spurs’ fanbase who called for Mourinho to be sacked, but it is in the club sitting sixth in the Premier League heading into the international break that has allegedly fallen below Chairman Levy’s expectations.
Qualifying for the 2021/22 edition of the Champions League was a minimum requirement for Mourinho to secure this term, and failing to do so could cost the Portuguese his job.
Intermediaries working for Tottenham are understood to have begun reaching out to potential replacements since the start of the year, and have a long list of candidates who could take up the hot seat in north London.
Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers is said to be Spurs’ top-target to replace Mourinho, but Levy could face competition from FC Barcelona should they look to replace Ronald Koeman, while the Foxes are ready to hand the 48-year-old an £15m-a-season deal to keep him in place.
The King Power Stadium side would also demand a large amount of compensation to release Rodgers, who is aware of Tottenham’s interest, but Spurs are also looking at RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann, Rangers gaffer Steven Gerrard and Ancelotti.
Everton awarded Ancelotti an £11.5m-a-year contract upon his appointment in 2019 that sees the Italian tied down at Goodison Park through to 2024, well-placing the Toffees to demand a lucrative fee should Tottenham look to test his resolve.
But Moshiri must block Ancelotti from any potential route out of Goodison Park, no matter how much Levy could offer, as the Italian has proven a huge success since his arrival on Merseyside when others have failed.
Ancelotti brought with him an “exceptional” brand of football, in the opinion of Pep Guardiola, when he joined Everton following his release by SSC Napoli, as his philosophy delivers an exciting style that has often produced results.
Marco Silva had promised to deliver “exciting, attacking football” at Goodison Park but was sacked after winning just 24 of his 60 games in charge. Koeman was similarly relieved of his command after winning 24 of 58 games at the helm, while Roberto Martinez won 62 of 143.
But Everton are a different side now. They’re in contention for Champions League football and they won their first match at Anfield since 1999 during the Merseyside derby last month, ending a 24-game run without beating Liverpool, and much of the result was down to Ancelotti.
“I never gave a man of the match in the game for whatever reason, maybe it slipped my mind. There was probably three or four Everton players you could have given it to, but I watched the game again yesterday morning when I got up and their Man of the Match was the manager, Carlo Ancelotti,” Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports.
“It’s 22 years since they won at Anfield, 1999. But that’s just the Premier League; notoriously, Everton’s record at Anfield is horrendous. So, to actually win at Anfield for Everton, is huge.”
Ancelotti has also been instrumental in some of the signings Everton have made since his appointment, with James Rodriguez revealing that being reunited with the Italian played a key role in his decision to leave Real Madrid. A chat with the Blues boss was also important for Niels Nkounkou, having mapped out his route to becoming a first-team regular.
With Ancelotti keen to extend his time on Merseyside beyond 2024 so that he can lead Everton into the club’s proposed new Bramley-Moore Dock stadium, as well, Moshiri cannot allow the Italian to join Tottenham and must tell Levy to think again if he does make an approach.