Ralf Rangnick, 62, and Rafa Benitez, 61, are being considered by Tottenham after a succession of managers ruled themselves out of taking over from Jose Mourinho — and the security of experience begins to look more desirable than youthful potential.
Max Allegri, 53, will also be on the shortlist, but the chances of Brighton’s Graham Potter, 45, and Eddie Howe, 43, are receding because of their inexperience at a major club.
Chairman Daniel Levy has seen his initial shortlist fall apart as Julian Nagelsmann, 33, confirmed he would move to Bayern Munich, Erik ten Hag, 51, signed a new contract with Ajax and Brendan Rodgers, 48, indicated he would stay at Leicester.
Rafa Benitez (L) and Ralf Rangnick (R) have emerged as contenders for the Tottenham hotseat
Daniel Levy is on the lookout for a new manager but has been hit by numerous rejections
Tottenham are unlikely to make a move before the end of the season and may hope that Rodgers can still be persuaded if Leicester fail to make the Champions League next season.
Benitez and Allegri are the most decorated managers in the running, the former having won the Champions League, World Club Cup, the Europa League, UEFA Cup, La Liga twice, the FA Cup, Coppa Italia and the Championship, while the latter won Serie A six times with AC Milan and Juventus and Coppa Italia four times.
Rangnick is better known for his control of clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig, helping them both to rise though the German pyramid to higher echelons of the Bundesliga, and his ability to buy low and sell high is envied throughout Europe. His playing style influenced Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and he was at the forefront of the Stuttgart school of attacking German coaches.
Brendan Rodgers (L) and Julian Nagelsmann (R) have both snubbed the advances of Levy
Levy is understood to be prioritising experience over youthful potential in his search as Spurs desperately look to end their wait for silverware
Benitez, however, brings instant credibility and security, given his Premier League experience.
‘We’re part of a very, very big club at Tottenham, so have big expectations,’ said midfielder Giovani Lo Celso. ‘Those expectations are that we get into the Champions League.’
But who will take them there?