Tottenham have reportedly made Brighton boss Graham Potter their top managerial target, over Roberto Mancini and Mauricio Pochettino, in case Antonio Conte jumps ship this summer. The threat of the Italian walking away looms large with talks pencilled in for the end of the season, where Conte will seek assurances over the club’s ambition.
Since his appointment in November, Conte has broadly lived up to the hype in north London. The Lilywhites were floundering under Nuno Espirito Santo, but they are now in with a shot of qualifying for next season’s Champions League with four matches left to play.
It is therefore not a question of whether Spurs would like to keep hold of Conte, but vice versa. The former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss is set to demand a hefty transfer spend this summer, with between six and eight players believed to be on his wish list.
Such a frivolous spree is far from assured given chairman Daniel Levy’s reputation. If Conte decides that the project is not for him, The Telegraph claim that Potter has been fast-tracked to the top of the priority list.
Mancini and Pochettino may have more eye-catching CVs, but the former could be tricky to prise away from Italy and the Spurs board supposedly have concerns over whether an emotional return for the latter would benefit all parties. The Argentine is expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer after winning the Ligue 1 title.
Being snubbed for a Spurs return would be the latest dose of bad news for Pochettino, who also missed out on the Manchester United job when the Red Devils turned to Erik ten Hag. Potter, meanwhile, would have to deal with a huge step up in pressure from his current post at Brighton.
Tottenham sporting director Fabio Paratici is supposedly a huge admirer of the what Potter has achieved on the south coast. The Seagulls are currently in the top-half of the Premier League table, on course to shatter their previous best finish of 15th.
Given that it would be Potter’s first foray into the upper-echelons of Premier League riches and expectations, Levy and co may also prioritise his appointment on the presumption that his transfer market demands would be less than those of Conte. On Thursday, the Italian stated that the transfer wish list he would currently hand over to the board is ‘very, very big’.
On Saturday’s meeting with Liverpool, which could be crucial to their top-four hopes, he added: “It will be a very good game for us. I say to my players, we need to be brave on the ball. Don’t be afraid to press and find the solution to get three points.
”We are very much in this race to get Champions League. Every game is a big chance to progress in the table.”