Journalist and transfer insider Pete O’Rourke believes Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper “would tick a lot of boxes” for Tottenham Hotspur as they search for a replacement for Antonio Conte.
Spurs have been under the stewardship of interim manager Christian Stellini since Conte left the club after labelling the players as “selfish” in the aftermath of a late collapse to draw with bottom club Southampton.
The Lilywhites are in serious danger of missing out on Champions League qualification, as they sit fifth in the Premier League – three points behind Newcastle in fourth having played a game more than the Magpies.
How has Cooper performed at Nottingham Forest?
However there are extenuating circumstances with the record 21 signings made last summer, and another seven made in January, making any sort of settled starting eleven extremely difficult for the 43-year-old to achieve.
Cooper – recently hailed for his “remarkable” work by James McFadden – took charge of The Garibaldi when the club were flirting with relegation in the Championship in September 2021 and transformed their fortunes – guiding them back to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.
O’Rourke believes this, combined with guiding Swansea City to consecutive Championship play-off finishes and winning the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup with England, have shown he could be a shrewd target for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
What has O’Rourke said about Cooper?
Speaking in an interview with This is Futbol, O’Rourke stated his belief that Cooper would fit several of Spurs’ requirements for a manager.
On the former England U17 boss, the journalist said:
“I think he’s very highly respected by a number of top clubs and I think he would tick a lot of boxes for Tottenham for the profile of manager – he’s a young, upcoming and innovative coach and his teams do play a good style of football as well. So that would make a plus point for Tottenham as well right now as well.
“So again, if he was to become a free agent on the market, I’m sure he‘d be somebody who would figure on Tottenham’s wanted list.”
What’s next for Cooper?
Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis issued a statement confirming Cooper would remain in charge amidst speculation he would be relieved of his duties after a defeat to Leeds in April.
Since then he has overseen 2-0 defeats to Aston Villa and Manchester United which has left Forest on the brink of relegation with Liverpool, Brighton, Chelsea and Arsenal all yet to play.
It is the second time Cooper has been backed by his owner this season, after he signed a new contract in October with the club bottom of the Premier League.
It is highly likely the Welshman will leave the City Ground should Forest go down, and such a chaotic season may have taken its toll regardless.
Whilst, as O’Rourke states, he would meet several requirements for Spurs’ managerial search – question marks will remain over his inexperience of working at a top Premier League club.