Tottenham Hotspur appear to be drawing up a list of candidates to replace manager Antonio Conte in the dugout, with the 53-year-old in line for a departure from N17 with a matter of months left on his current deal.
Recent days and weeks have seen a number of names mentioned as possible replacements for the former Chelsea boss, with the Telegraph notably suggesting that Napoli’s Luciano Spalletti could well be one of those under consideration.
The 64-year-old will no doubt be an attractive choice at present following what has been a fine campaign thus far for his rampant outfit in Naples, with the Serie A side currently 18 points clear at the summit, while having also powered their way into the quarter-finals of the Champions League at a canter.
Not only has the Italian been able to fashion a truly imperious, winning machine, but the experienced “genius” – as lauded by journalist Mina Rzouki – has done so with flair, building a side that plays a “scintillating” brand of football, as per journalist Owuraku Ampofo.
With Spurs chairman Daniel Levy having previously outlined his desire to see the Lilywhites playing “free-flowing, attacking and entertaining” football, turning to Spalletti would no doubt be a huge step towards realising that ambition.
The appointment of the one-time Roma boss could also prove integral in the north London outfit’s quest to sign Georgian dynamo, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, with the 22-year-old currently flourishing under Spalletti’s watch for the Partenopei.
Will Spurs sign Kvaratskhelia?
The fleet-footed winger was reportedly a player of interest to sporting director Fabio Paratici prior to ultimately joining his current side, with Spurs insider John Wenham revealing that the emerging superstar was “scouted multiple times” by the Premier League outfit.
Having ultimately opted against a move for the 19-cap speedster – as the player moved to Naples for a mere €10m (£9m) – Tottenham have been left to rue that transfer failure, with Kvaratskhelia now said to be worth as much as £100m as a result of his breathtaking form this season.
The hope will be that bringing Spalletti into the fold could well help to tempt the 6 foot sensation into making the move to England, due to the pair’s current association, with reports back in January having revealed that Paratici and co are still interested in signing the Tbilisi native.
Signed as a relative unknown during the summer, the “untamed” gem – as hailed by New York Times correspondent Rory Smith – has been a breath of fresh air in European football this season, with his “instinctive” style, as per Smith, wreaking havoc both domestically and in Europe.
The former Dinamo Batumi man has already racked up 11 goals and 11 assists in just 22 Serie A games so far this term, while also contributing two goals and four assists in his seven Champions League outings to date, marking 28 goal contributions in just 29 games this campaign.
Such form as even lead to the highly-coveted ace being dubbed ‘Kvaradona‘ – in homage to the late, great, Diego Maradona – with the forward’s recent, solo goal against Atalanta having only rubberstamped those comparisons to the legendary Argentine.
A figure who is simply “absolutely ridiculous” and looks like a “complete menace” – according to the aforementioned Wenham – Kvaratskhelia has certainly warranted the hype that is now falling his way, with it set to be no surprise if there is a host of clubs chasing his signature this summer. Even Jamie Carragher branded him “the best player in Serie A” when speaking on CBS Sports (14/09 at 19:40).
As such, if Paratici and co can tempt Spalletti into taking the job at the end of the season, then he may have a better chance of finally getting his hands on Napoli’s glorious and dazzling talisman.