Klinsmann declares interest in Spurs job after Gattuso talks called off

Jürgen Klinsmann has declared his interest in becoming Tottenham manager after the club broke off talks with Gennaro Gattuso.

The protracted search for a permanent successor to José Mourinho took its latest turn when Gattuso was ruled out. He left Fiorentina on Thursday after a disagreement over transfer policy, having been in charge there for just over three weeks, and entered discussions with Spurs.

There had been a feeling at Tottenham that a deal with the free agent would be swiftly agreed but the club, now working with Fabio Paratici as the managing director of football, have moved away from Gattuso and will focus on other targets.

Klinsmann would welcome a return to the club where he had two spells as a player. The former Germany, USA, Bayern Munich and Hertha Berlin manager said he had contacted Tottenham’s chairman, Daniel Levy, after Mourinho was sacked in April.

“I called him after he let Mourinho go and said: ‘Daniel, what’s the case now?’” he told the BBC. “And he said to me: ‘I have so much to do right now to sort things out at the club, let’s talk a little later on.’ Then I saw all the different names walking in, talking and walking out. The same still today. Spurs are in my heart, I would consider that – but if he doesn’t want to, I am not going to force him.”

Gattuso, the former Italy midfielder who has most notably managed Napoli and Milan, is the latest in an increasingly long line of candidates sounded out, only for negotiations to falter. It is unclear whether an online backlash by Spurs fans against his potential appointment was a factor.

A statement posted on Twitter by the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust on Friday morning indicated that it had “very clearly” communicated with “the decision-makers at the club” over Gattuso’s potential appointment. “We are aware of and acting on your concerns around potential managerial candidates,” the statement added.

Earlier this week Tottenham were close to appointing Paulo Fonseca after a contract had been verbally agreed with the former Roma and Shakhtar Donetsk manager, only for the deal to collapse, according to sources close to him, because of issues relating to tax.

Fonseca was unhappy that tax breaks he had enjoyed in Italy would not apply in the UK. Spurs have said that finance was not an issue.

Spurs, who dismissed Mourinho on 19 April and finished the season under the rookie interim Ryan Mason, have failed to land a number of targets. They called off talks with Antonio Conte after thinking they were close to a deal and interest in candidates including Hansi Flick and Mauricio Pochettino has come to nothing. Ajax’s Erik ten Hag, Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers and Julian Nagelsmann, who joined Bayern Munich, have also been on the list.