Levy could repeat Potter mistake as Spurs line up “special” 43 y/o to replace Conte – opinion

Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy appears to be focused on deciding who could be the man to replace Antonio Conte in the dugout at N17, with it looking increasingly likely that the Italian coach will depart at the end of the season.

As The Athletic’s David Ornstein noted on Monday, there is a ‘good chance’ that the 53-year-old will move on once his contract expires this summer, with the former Inter Milan man’s 18-month stint in charge set to come to an inevitable end.

Like many predicted, the serial-winning coach has been a mere ‘short-term fix’ for the Lilywhites – as per Sunday Times journalist Alyson Rudd – with Levy and co now somewhat back to square one in their hunt to land a more long-term appointment ahead of next season.

One potential candidate that has emerged in recent times is Brighton and Hove Albion boss, Roberto De Zerbi, with the Telegraph naming the 43-year-old among the alternative targets that the north Londoners may consider this summer – should the club opt against a move to re-hire Mauricio Pochettino.

While the former Shakhtar Donetsk head coach – who arrived in England back in September – may have impressed during his brief stint at the Amex thus far, there may be doubts as to whether he is the right fit to help revive Spurs’ fortunes.

Would De Zerbi be a success at Spurs?
Turning to De Zerbi could well lead to a similar scenario to that of Chelsea’s appointment of former Brighton boss, Graham Potter, with the Englishman having since made a difficult start to life at Stamford Bridge after joining the Blues earlier in the campaign.

While the one-time Swansea City man has overseen three wins in his last three games in all competitions – notably guiding the west London outfit into the last eight of the Champions League – it had been a bumpy ride prior to that, with rumours abound that the 47-year-old could be set for the axe.

The previously highly-rated coach has unsurprisingly faced intense scrutiny since taking on such a high-profile job, with it undoubtedly a different kettle of fish to be working at a club such as Brighton, rather than an elite outfit that demands immediate success.

Although Potter may come good in his current post, his Chelsea record at present makes for rather grim reading, having won just 12 of his first 29 games in charge at the club – while picking up a points per game average of just 1.48.

The fear will be that while De Zerbi – who has been hailed as “special” by Seagulls star Adam Lallana – has guided the south coast side into European contention against the odds, it is another matter entirely being able to cope under pressure at a club such as Spurs, where supporters are no doubt hungry to see their long-running trophy drought come to an end.

As pundit Stan Collymore recently stated, the Brescia native may be better served to “bide his time” and remain in charge at the Amex for a longer period, despite interest from Levy and co, with it perhaps far too soon for the one-time Sassuolo coach to be jumping ship.

For all the commendable work that De Zerbi has done over the last six months or so, the example of Potter at Chelsea – as well as Nuno Espirito Santo at Spurs – should show that making that step up is not always an easy move to make, with the Lilywhites unable to afford to make another costly, managerial error.