EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham target Mourinho
Published 22:30 16/03/12 By Martin Lipton - Chief Football Writer
Tottenham will throw everything at Jose Mourinho to try to entice him to the club if manager Harry Redknapp quits.
Spurs are attempting to put the block on further speculation linking Redknapp to the vacant England post, but while chairman Daniel Levy will drive a hard bargain if and when FA chiefs come knocking on his door, Mourinho will be his prime target.
The Special One has made it clear he plans to quit as Real Madrid coach at the end of the season and the Mirror revealed earlier this month that he has agreed to buy a new family home in London.
Mourinho, who flew into London on a whistle-stop trip on Friday, has let it be known that he wants to return to the Premier League, and Spurs and his former club Chelsea are the obvious options.
Although the Portuguese’s broken relationship with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been repaired - and many Blues fans are dreaming of him coming back to Stamford Bridge to replace caretaker boss Roberto Di Matteo - Levy believes he can tempt Mourinho to N17.
Levy’s stewardship at White Hart Lane has always been about avoiding controversy and while appointing Mourinho would, at first glance, be a break with that approach, the Spurs chairman believes that, post-Redknapp, the next manager must be capable of taking the club on to the next level and making Tottenham genuine title challengers.
Mourinho is a proven winner, while
Commercially, with Spurs looking to start work on their new 55,000 capacity home in the next 12 months, having Mourinho as the public figurehead of the club would be a massive financial pull.
And the Portuguese is understood to be ready to embrace a long-term project rather that opt for another short-term fix.
Should Manchester City blow the title after surrendering what was a five-point lead, Mourinho would be the most likely candidate to replace manager Roberto Mancini if Sheikh Mansour decides he needs to make a change.
Levy, though, who is aware of suggestions that Mourinho would be more interested in a serious project which could leave a legacy rather than purely his own salary demands, will make a determined move if Redknapp does agree to take on the England challenge he has long spoken of as his biggest personal ambition.
The impetus towards Mourinho has been increased by Levy and the Spurs board, considering there is a dearth of other viable options.
Chelsea Double winner Carlo Ancelotti would have been an obvious contender had he not taken up the offer to join Paris Saint-Germain a few months ago.
Spurs are believed to have reservations over whether Everton’s David Moyes really is the man to turn the club into potential title winners, while impressive Swansea boss Brandan Rodgers is deemed to be slightly too inexperienced.
Former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is unlikely to appeal to Levy, although, ironically, Mancini might fit the bill should he be displaced by Mourinho.
But it is the Special One that Levy envisages as the perfect choice to turn Spurs - whose last league title was under Bill Nicholson in 1961 - from wannabes to the real deal should Redknapp leave the club.
And he will make an all-out effort to persuade the Portuguese to take up the opportunity.