Antonio Conte’s move to Real Madrid has hit a snag.
The former Chelsea boss had been favourite to replace Julen Lopetegui, the ex-Spain manager who took over after Zinedine Zidane’s departure over the summer.
It is not the news that Tottenham Hotspur fans were looking to hear, especially after comments from Mauricio Pochettino about his frustrations with life in North London at present.
The Spurs boss had been Real’s number one target only to make his position clear by signing a new deal to stay on at Hotspur Way – a decision that led to Lopetegui’s appointment.
After a troubled start to the season which has seen the European champions slip to ninth in La Liga after losing 5-1 to Barcelona in El Clasico at the weekend.
He is under extraordinary pressure at the Bernabeu and Marca claim that he could be given the boot this week by club president Florentino Perez.
Despite his commitment to Spurs in the summer, Tottenham fans remain concerned about Real’s long-term interest in Pochettino and it was hoped that a move for Conte would put another obstacle between the Spanish giants and their manager.
However, Sky Sports Italy reporter Giovanni Guardala has claimed, in a comment reported by calciomercato.com, that the former Juventus, Italy and Chelsea head coach has cooled his interest in Madrid to wait and see if the Manchester United job becomes available.
“There are many rumours about his future,” said Guardala, “Real Madrid is tempting him but Manchester United is a team that Conte really likes.
“There are players like Paul Pogba, whom he coached at Juventus, or Alexis Sanchez, Herrera and Lukaku, three players he’s always wanted to sign.”
Jose Mourinho is another manager under serious scrutiny this season even if the talk of his sacking has died down of late.
Pochettino is not the number one target for Real at the moment but their second choice could leave the door open for a new approach for the Tottenham boss in the summer.
If Conte does plan to hold out for the Manchester United job to become available then the manager of Real Madrid Castilla Santiago Solari is expected to take over at the Bernabeu.
It has been claimed that would be a short term solution to see out the season. According to Marca he has already been made interim head coach in preparation for Lopetegui’s exit.
As it stands the only other name being linked with the job on a permanent basis in Spain is Belgium boss Roberto Martinez but it is no secret that Pochettino is still a manager that Madrid covet, even if they are not set to test Daniel Levy’s resolve so soon after he signed a new deal with Spurs.