Gennaro Gattuso is the new frontrunner for Tottenham's vacant managerial position after talks stalled between the club and Paulo Fonseca, sources told ESPN.
In a dramatic turn of events, former Italy midfielder Gattuso is available having left Fiorentina just 23 days after his appointment was announced. The 43-year-old was due to begin work on July 1 and although Fiorentina refused to give a reason in their official statement, sources told ESPN there was a disagreement over the club's summer transfer strategy.
And Gattuso has now emerged as the leading candidate to take over in north London after negotiations stalled with Fonseca, who had widely been expected to end what has become a convoluted and troubled search to succeed Jose Mourinho following his sacking in April.
Reports in Italy have suggested Fonseca's wage demands were a stumbling block but sources told ESPN there were differences of opinion over the future direction of the club. Fonseca is a free agent after not having his contract renewed at Roma, where Mourinho will take charge from the beginning of next month. Gattuso's sudden availability also piqued the interest of Spurs' new managing director of football, Fabio Paratici, who is thought to be an admirer.
Spurs appointed 29-year-old coach Ryan Mason as interim boss until the end of the season and began drawing up a list of candidates which included Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers and Red Bull Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann. Rodgers has a contract until 2025 and showed no interest in leaving Leicester while Nagelsmann opted to join Bayern Munich, leaving Spurs to sound out former boss Mauricio Pochettino over whether he would be tempted to rejoin the club from Paris Saint-Germain.
However, sources told ESPN that Pochettino never asked to leave the Ligue 1 club, who in any case exercised an option to extend his contract by a further year to 2023.
Ajax's Erik ten Hag has also extended his deal to stay in Holland amid interest from Spurs, while interest in former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte failed to deliver any progress, prompting the club to enter into discussions with Fonseca.
An agreement was thought to be imminent but instead Tottenham are now speaking to Gattuso with the hope they can finally end the uncertainty over the identity of Mourinho's successor.
Gattuso steered Napoli to a fifth-place finish in Serie A last season, missing out on Champions League qualification by a single point. A year earlier, he won the Coppa Italia six months after replacing Carlo Ancelotti after he was sacked in December 2019.