Paulo Fonseca left Roma in May


The Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca is hopeful of wrapping up a deal to become the next manager of Tottenham Hotspur this week, with the two parties now in negotiations to conclude an agreement.

As has been the case throughout Spurs’ protracted search for a successor to Jose Mourinho, nothing is certain until Daniel Levy, the club’s chairman, has sanctioned the completion of the deal, but Fonseca’s willingness to take the job is in contrast to previous candidates. Antonio Conte was the latest to withdraw with reservations over the club’s ambition but the 48-year-old Fonseca, sacked by Roma in May, is keen to come to the club having been close to a Premier League job in the past.

Fonseca was due to fly this week to Kiev, where he worked previously in the most successful phase of his career at Shakhtar Donetsk from 2016 to 2019 but has postponed that while talks between his representatives and Spurs continue. His wife Katerina is from the country. It is understood that Levy is currently in the Bahamas with the club’s principal controlling power, the billionaire Joe Lewis.  

Fonseca has had offers from a number of Serie A clubs including Fiorentina and Sassuolo since his departure from Roma but has hoped that he would be offered a job in the Premier League. He is the choice of new Spurs technical director Fabio Paratici whose appointment is expected to be confirmed by the club before they confirm the arrival of their new manager. Paratici, previously at Juventus, has alighted upon Fonseca after the deal for Conte failed to materialise.

It will still require Levy’s final acquiescence for the deal to be done. The approach to Fonseca was relatively late in the day, coming as recently as this week with Spurs having failed to land any of their previous targets for the job. That started with Julian Nagelsmann who was the original choice when Mourinho was sacked on April 19.

There have been approaches for Fonseca in the past with the coach interviewed by both West ham and Everton in the summer of 2018 when the two clubs had vacancies. On both occasions they opted for managers with previous experience of the Premier League. Fonseca’s English is of a decent standard and he is confident delivering presentations on his plans for prospective new clubs in the language at interview.

Should he be appointed, he will deal principally with Paratici who will now oversee player trading and the club’s overall football operation – the first time for a while that Levy has placed such trust in senior employee in such a position. It is the way that Fonseca prefers to work and was not always possible at Roma following the explosive departure of Gianluca Petrachi from a similar role last year.

The discussions about playing style, as well as player contracts and potential transfer targets would be had with Paratici who would ultimately answer to Levy. Fonseca will be asked to deliver on Levy’s promise to Spurs fans at the last home game of the season that the new manager would be “someone whose values reflect those of our great club”. Levy said he wanted a “return to playing football with the style for which we are known – free-flowing, attacking and entertaining – whilst continuing to embrace our desire to see young players flourish from our academy alongside experienced talent."