Tottenham Hotspur are in advanced negotiations with Paulo Fonseca over their vacant manager’s role, according to Fabrizio Romano in the Guardian.
It’s thought that the 48-year-old, who was replaced by Jose Mourinho at AS Roma in May, is incoming sporting director Fabio Paratici’s preferred candidate and the two parties have held discussions over a potential three-year deal.
Both chairman Daniel Levy and the Italian, who won 19 trophies in 11 years during his time at Juventus, are thought to be keen on an experienced manager capable of working with the existing squad.
Fonseca failed to surpass fifth in the Serie A with Roma but won three successive league and cup doubles in charge of Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine, where he blew Pep Guardiola away. Whilst his record in his native country Portugal is also pretty respectable.
But what will he bring to Spurs? Football FanCast takes a look into his tactical system…
On the face of it, this appointment seems pretty uninspiring and when compared to the likes of Antonio Conte, Erik ten Hag and Mauricio Pochettino, it does somewhat present a lack of ambition.
However, Fonseca does meet a key criteria that has been floating about ever since Levy pulled the trigger on Mourinho – his next head coach must play attack-minded football.
The Portuguese ended his tenure at the Stadio Olimpico having deployed a wing-back system, which primarily saw a three-man defence look to play out from the back, with support from the two wide men. And similarly to the ‘Special One,’ this also involved a low-block. This is effectively the side sitting deeper to allow the opposition time on the ball.
His heavy-possession approach saw them rank 12th-best across Europe for attacking. By comparison, Spurs ranked 30th and eighth in the Premier League, so there’s the potential for a clear improvement in that sense.
“I’d put them with Atalanta and Sassuolo as the league’s entertainers,” claimed The Athletic’s James Horncastle, via Tifo Football, whilst Alex Stewart described his style as “exciting.”
And he will get some interesting players at his disposal in Sergio Reguilon and Matt Doherty, who could slot right in on each flank, and of course, the likes of Tanguy Ndombele, Heung-min Son and Harry Kane can help their fortunes in front of goal.
The Athletic have likened his style to that of former Arsenal boss Unai Emery, who has just clinched the Europa League title over Manchester United and Fonseca’s Roma, who were knocked out in the semi-finals this year.
In fact, his playing style makes him 99.3% similar to Spurs’ old arch-nemesis, with the website also describing his Roma as a “formidable attacking side” but there are plenty of question marks over his defensive nous.
Roma were played off the park by United, losing 8-5 on aggregate, and their 58 goals conceded in the Serie A this campaign was comfortably the worst of any side that finished inside the top ten.
After their Europa League exit, Portuguese journalist Alex Goncalves still backed Fonseca to go onto big things.
“It’s a bad result for Paulo Fonseca today, a 6-2 defeat to Manchester United. His managerial CV is exceptional, & his managerial ability matches it, but his time at Roma may be coming to an end. A talented manager who plays stylish football likely to be available this summer,” he tweeted.
Considering one of Spurs’ biggest problems is at the back, Fonseca could have one hard task at his hands, though. Both individual mistakes and a lack of cohesion have been the major cause of their downfall in the last 12 to 18 months.
If Levy and Paratici want their many to be a success, then he’ll need to be backed in the transfer market, particularly with new defenders. Otherwise, this could be destined to fail from the start.
Fonseca could well become Spurs’ own Emery, whether that’s from his tumultuous time at the Emirates Stadium or his successful stint in charge of Villarreal will largely boil down to those above him in the hierarchy.
AND in other news, Daniel Levy on verge of Spurs mistake amid Steve Hitchen claim…