SURPRISE! Although there were rumblings that the deal was close, nobody expected Tottenham Hotspur to formally announce the appointment of Nuno Espirito Santo as the club’s next head coach.
Only they just did.
✍️ Welcome to Tottenham Hotspur, Nuno Espírito Santo.#WelcomeNuno— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) June 30, 2021
Nuno, who was fired as manager at Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of this past season, joins Tottenham through the 2022-23 season. His appointment finally brings to a close a Tottenham Hotspur managerial saga that has lasted more than two months since the sacking of Jose Mourinho back in April.
We know Nuno’s story by now. A former goalkeeper, he had stints as a manager at Valencia and Porto before joining Wolves, guiding them from the Championship to the Premier League and surprising a lot of established top clubs along the way. He also made the Europa League as manager of Rio Ave, a fact I didn’t know and which is genuinely impressive.
Espirito Santo is nobody’s first choice for manager, least of all Tottenham, and there are concerns about the style of football he established at Wolves, how that style will adapt to a team that has progressive football in its “DNA,” and his close ties to super-agent Jorge Mendes. However, what we can say is that he seems to be a genuinely nice guy and is unlikely to leave the club in shambles if and when his tenure does come to an end.
Nuno is also the first BAME permanent head coach in club history; Chris Hughton also served as caretaker manager on two separate occasions over the past number of years.
Chairman Daniel Levy had this to say on the club’s official release:
“First of all, I’d like to welcome Nuno to the Club. We should like to thank our supporters for all their patience throughout this process. I’ve spoken already about the need to revert back to our core DNA of playing attacking, entertaining football and Fabio and I believe Nuno is the man who can take our talented group of players, embrace our young players coming through and build something special.”
Nuno will need to roll up his sleeves immediately, with the non-EURO and Copa America international players set to return for the start of preseason training on Monday. That doesn’t leave much time for him to establish a training routine, start drilling tactics, and also work the transfer market, something he alluded to in a statement of his own.
“When you have a squad with quality and talent, we want to make the fans proud and enjoy. It’s an enormous pleasure and honour (to be here), there’s joy and I’m happy and looking forward to starting work. We don’t have any days to lose and we must start working immediately as pre-season starts in a few days.”
There’s a LOT to criticize about how Spurs went about searching for a replacement for Mourinho, which led them to Nuno, a manager who almost certainly was nowhere near the top of the list back in April. Those are valid criticisms. However, Nuno doesn’t come with nearly the personal baggage or that Mourinho had, and whatever your reservations, he offers an opportunity to rally around the club and maybe, just maybe, enjoy watching Spurs again.
He also has a FANTASTIC beard. That’s important. It might be the most important thing.
Welcome to Tottenham, Nuno Espirito Santo.