Paulo Fonseca has been out of work since being sacked by Roma earlier in the season

Credit: Andrew Medichini /AP

Paulo Fonseca has moved to the front of the queue to become the new Tottenham Hotspur head coach in what would constitute a job swap with Jose Mourinho.

Incoming sporting director Fabio Paratici has installed Fonseca as his number one choice of the available candidates to succeed Mourino, following the failed move to appoint Antonio Conte.

And with Paratici driving the move, Tottenham are now expected to move quickly to end what has been a long and, at times, painful search for a new head coach. 

Fonseca left Roma at the end of this season and was replaced by Mourinho, who was dismissed by Spurs.

A deal is yet to be finalised and signed, but negotiations moved quickly over the course of Wednesday after Paratici shortlisted Fonseca and immediately held talks with the Portuguese.

Fonseca wants to move to England to become Tottenham’s new head coach and is ready to accept a three-year contract as long as there are no last-minute hitches.

Tottenham had spoken to Fonseca early in the process to replace Mourinho, before Paratici’s appointment, but had pursued alternative targets.

But Paratici is a fan of Fosenca’s work at Roma and believes the 48-year-old fits the Tottenham brief in terms of the style of football chairman Daniel Levy wants and a willingness to play young players.

Paulo Fonseca grabbed international headlines when he showed up for a press conference wearing a Zorro mask

Credit: STANISLAS VEDMID /AFP

In an interview with Telegraph Sport in 2018, Fonseca said: “I have to play well. I like my teams to have the initiative. My ideas now are not the same as when I started. My experience means I have evolved. I want to win and I am very ambitious, but to win is not enough.

“I like my teams to play well. We have to have the courage to play well all the time, and in the same way whoever the opponents. It doesn’t matter if I play against Manchester City or another team – my team has to have the courage. I will die with this philosophy.”

Levy is keen for Ryan Sessegnon and Oliver Skipp, who both enjoyed good seasons away on loan, to be given opportunities and wants the new head coach to keep a careful eye on the club’s academy talent.

The fact Fonseca is available and keen to move to London also suits Tottenham, who have missed out on the likes of Julian Naglesmann, Hansi Flick, a return for Mauricio Pochettino and Conte.

Fonseca may not have the profile to immediately excite supporters, but Levy is willing to put his faith in Paratici’s judgement after deciding to appoint the former Juventus sporting director.

At Shakhtar Donetsk, Fonseca won the Ukrainian title three times before moving to Roma in 2019 and leading the club to fifth place in Serie A and the semi-finals of this season’s Europa League, which they lost to Manchester United.

Fonseca also captured headlines when he appeared at a press conference wearing a Zorro hat, mask and cape after Shakhtar had beaten Manchester City in the Champions League.

West Ham United approached Fonseca in 2018, while Everton also considered appointing him as manager at one stage.

Tottenham are aware that any new candidate is likely to be questioned following on from Pochettino and Conte, but they will hope that Fonseca can win over supporters and prove to be a shrewd appointment in a similar way to Pochettino did when he arrived from Southampton.