Daniel Levy will only sack Jose Mourinho this summer in extreme circumstances, according to a report, with the under-fire Tottenham boss now knowing the minimum he needs to avoid getting the bullet.
Tottenham’s season – and Mourinho’s future – hangs by a thread after Thursday’s Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb.
Despite taking a two-goal lead into their last 16 second leg, Mislav Orsic’s hat-trick forged a remarkable turnaround.
While Dinamo’s adventure continues after Friday’s draw, the Carabao Cup remains Spurs’ only chance at silverware this term.
That though looks a big task given their form compared to opponents Manchester City.
Such is the sombre mood at Spurs that one pundit has suggested Thursday’s embarrassment could lead to Harry Kane’s departure.
However, it seems it would take a major fail for chairman Levy to actually wield the axe. Spurs are currently eighth in the Premier League and trail Chelsea, in fourth, by six points.
In the absence of Europa League Thursdays, Spurs will hope they can now use that to their advantage and close that gap. However, while a top-four finish looks a big ask, Mourinho has reportedly been told he must secure Europa League football at the minimum.
Spurs have not missed out on European football since the 2009/10 season. And avoiding that scenario again is now his minimum target.
Failure to do so would see him axed, it seems. And that is regardless of whether he ends their trophy drought in next month’s Carabao Cup final.
Part of the problem for Levy would be the costs involved to sack Mourinho this summer.
Indeed, trusted journalist David Ornstein says there is no break-clause in the arrangement. That would mean that firing him now would hit Tottenham seriously hard in the pocket.
Levy has eyes on two Mourinho successors
That said, The Times claims very clearly that Levy does have his eyes on two successors were he to fire the Portuguese firebrand.
However, as reported last month, landing either could prove difficult.
The papers says the name at the top of Levy’s wanted list is RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann. Prising the man once dubbed ‘the mini Mourinho’ away from the Bundesliga side would not come cheap.
The second boss admired by Levy, claims the Mail, is Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers. He has underlined his credentials since returning to the Premier League with Leicester. Having narrowly missed out on a top-four finish last season, they look well placed to make the cut this time around.
Prising the Northern Irishman away from the King Power Stadium, however, would not come cheap either. He is contracted to the Foxes until 2025, having signed an extension just 15 months ago.