Tottenham were determined to bring in Feyenoord boss Arne Slot as their head coach; the Dutchman led Feyenoord to just their second Eredivisie title this century; Slot met his club for talks but says they were only to extend his contract
By Lyall Thomas and Rob Dorsett
Arne Slot says he is staying at Feyenoord amid interest from Tottenham.
Spurs were determined to get Slot after he secured the Eredivisie title with Feyenoord this season.
But Sky Sports News has now been told Tottenham did not progress their interest in Slot because of a disagreement about the terms of his buy-out clause.
Tottenham have always stressed they had no conversations directly with Slot or Feyenoord, and never comment publicly on employees of other football clubs.
Sky Sports News understands Slot has a clause in his current contract which dictates it would cost £5m for any other club who wants to take him – but crucially, that clause does not come into effect until next summer.
When intermediaries made it clear it would cost Spurs double that amount, around £10m, if they wanted to employ Slot now – and a further £5m+ for his backroom staff – the Spurs hierarchy decided to walk away from any potential deal, and told intermediaries they were no longer interested.
Sky Sports News have also been told that Spurs’ bosses feel Slot used their interest in him to get an improved contract in the Netherlands – and it is fully expected he will now sign a new deal with Feyenoord.
In a statement issued to Sky Sports News by his representatives on Thursday morning, Slot said: “I have been hearing a lot of rumours going around about other clubs’ interest in me.
“Although I am thankful my wish is to stay at Feyenoord and continue working on what we created last year.
“There is not – and there has not – been transfer conversation and yesterday’s meeting [with Feyenoord] was exclusively for an extension.
“All talks with the club have always been only in that sense. Looking forward to next season with Feyenoord.”
Where do Spurs go from here?
Sky Sports News’ senior reporter Rob Dorsett:
“As far as Tottenham are concerned, it’s a disappointment. But they were never concrete in their approach for Slot. It never got to any formal stage of discussions with him or Feyenoord, so Spurs will move on.
“When Nuno Espirito Santo was appointed, it took Spurs 76 days before he got the job. It’s been exactly 60 days since Antonio Conte was sacked as Spurs manager. This isn’t happening quickly for Spurs – but that’s deliberate, from my understanding.
“They want to be thorough and do their due diligence in their process of appointing a new manager. They will take their time.
“I understand Spurs fans’ frustrations: they would like to know who their new manager is going to be so the club can start working out transfer plans. But there is no rush from Spurs’ perspective.
“They don’t have to play any more football after Sunday’s final game of the Premier League until next season. It gives Daniel Levy time to consider their options and look at the other managers who could be in the running.
“We know Ange Postecoglou of Celtic has been on their list. Roberto De Zerbi has been doing a fantastic job at Brighton, he’s on their list, as is Marco Silva at Fulham. They’ve also been linked with out-of-work managers including Luis Enrique and they have long tracked the work of Graham Potter and Brendan Rodgers.
“The truth is: we don’t know to who Spurs go next from here. They are back to the drawing board. But there is an extensive recruitment plan as to who they want as their next manager – but after a bit of bad blood on both sides, it won’t be Arne Slot.”
Mason: I’m ready for the Spurs job
Spurs acting head coach Ryan Mason believes he is ready to step up to the plate for Spurs should he be given the full-time job.
However, the 31-year-old – who is in his second stint in caretaker charge of the club – has only won one out of his five games in this latest period in the Spurs dugout.
Speaking before Tottenham’s 3-1 loss to Brentford at the weekend, Mason said: “I’ve said that I feel ready to help this club in this moment and I absolutely trust my team, I trust the people at this club.
“Of course, those decisions are club decisions, but I remain confident in who I am, who my coaching team are as people.
“I feel like we have a good connection with this club and the players and we can have an impact in this short space of time.
“Going forward, those are things that are in the future. They’re not really on my mind at this moment in time, we’re just trying to create something right now and we’ve tried to do that.
“We’re doing OK at that but it’s important that we get results on the football pitch.”