Tottenham Hotspur ‘wanted’ to pay the €5million (£4.3million) required to take Julen Lopetegui from La Liga outfit Sevilla, according to Marca.
Spurs have been without a permanent manager since sacking Jose Mourinho nearly two months ago.
Their search looks set to finally conclude this week, with Fabrizio Romano reporting that Paulo Fonseca’s appointment will be finalised by Wednesday.
The North London outfit also held unsuccessful talks with former Chelsea and Inter Milan boss Antonio Conte.
Lopetegui has been in charge at Sevilla since June 2019, having previously had spells with the Spanish national team and Real Madrid.
In 2020, he led the club to the Europa League title with victories against the likes of Wolves, Manchester United and Inter along the way.
They will compete in the Champions League for the second consecutive season in 2021/22 after picking up 77 points and a fourth-place finish.
Spurs were keen to pay the 54-year-old’s release clause, only to be told that he intended to stay at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium.
Club sources have emphasised his commitment to the project.
Tottenham were the ‘most insistent’ of the clubs to have expressed an interest.
It really does look as if Spurs have missed out on their top two targets for the manager’s role, and that Fonseca was a little way down their list.
Lopetegui and particularly Conte would have been exciting appointments given their impressive achievements at Sevilla and Inter respectively.
Fonseca is a somewhat underwhelming alternative when comparing pedigree at top clubs, and this managerial search has underlined the reality that the Spurs job isn’t a particularly attractive proposition at this point, with Harry Kane’s future shrouded in uncertainty.
Lilywhites fans will be hoping all these near misses turn out to be blessings in disguise and Fonseca can lead the club into a new era.
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