Tottenham set to appoint Postecoglou while Real Madrid eye Harry Kane

<span>Photograph: Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: Stuart Wallace/Shutterstock

Tottenham Hotspur are close to ending their managerial search by hiring Ange Postecoglou as their new head coach, but the north London club could soon have to deal with Real Madrid looking to replace Karim Benzema with Harry Kane.

Spurs have been in a state of flux since parting company with Antonio Conte in March and the impending appointment of Postecoglou, who is fresh from leading Celtic to a domestic treble, should reintroduce certainty. The Australian has impressed since joining Celtic two years ago and a deal to bring him to north London should be completed soon.

Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, will hope the arrival of a new manager marks the end of a difficult period. Spurs endured a miserable end to the season, missing out on European qualification after finishing eighth. Cristian Stellini, Conte’s No 2, had stepped in as interim following the Italian’s acrimonious departure. Stellini was soon replaced by Ryan Mason.

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Postecoglou, who helped Celtic to reclaim the Scottish Premier League title from Rangers during his first year in charge, will need to rebuild morale. The 57-year-old coached Australia at the 2014 World Cup and to qualification for 2018, but quit before the finals in Russia. He previously had productive spells at Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory, and after the national team job went to Japan to manage Yokohama F. Marinos. He plays attractive football, has managed in the Champions League and will hope his shrewd coaching helps him overcome his relative lack of experience at the highest level.

Spurs have previously looked at Julian Nagelsmann, Luis Enrique and Feyenoord’s Arne Slot. It has been a challenging time for Spurs and they face a battle to hold on to Kane this summer. The striker’s contract expires next year and he is a key target for Manchester United.

Levy is reluctant to sell the England captain but that stance could be tested by Madrid. The Bernabéu club will need a new striker after confirming that Benzema, who is expected to move to Saudi Arabia, is leaving on a free transfer this summer.

Madrid, who are leading the race to sign Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, have not decided their next move. They could keep their powder dry before moving for Manchester City’s Erling Haaland or Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappé in the next couple of years. An alternative to signing a top No 9 this summer would be for Carlo Ancelotti’s side to target Kai Havertz, whose Chelsea future is up in the air. Madrid tried to sign Havertz last summer.