Former Tottenham Hotspur and Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has returned to management, taking charge of Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad.
The 48-year-old has signed a contract lasting until 2024 with the club, with hopes of helping the side challenge for the league title next season. Al-Ittihad finished second in the Saudi Pro League last season, finishing two points behind Al-Hilal.
The club announced the appointment of Santo with a simple tweet of: “Nuno Santo is here. Welcome coach’ alongside a photo of the Portuguese boss. A montage of Santo was also posted to the Twitter account, followed by over four million fans.
Santo was quick to address the supporters of Al-Ittihad, whilst also infuriating some rivals fans as well. In a short but sweet video message, he said: “It’s an honour for me to join the greatest club in Saudi Arabia, Ittihad. See you soon.”
The manager will be hoping that his time with the Saudi side is much like his four-year spell at Wolves, rather than Tottenham. He led the Molineux outfit back to the Premier League and played a vital role in their successive seventh-placed finishes in the league.
Santo’s Portuguese roots also enabled the club to attract top talent from their homeland, which has become a recurring theme for the Midlands side. However, it was a different tale at Spurs.
After taking over from Jose Mourinho, Santo lasted just 17 matches at the club last year before being sacked. He led the North London side to four defeats in six games and was consequently replaced by Antonio Conte.
According to The Athletic, Spurs defender, Ben Davies played a role in the sacking of Santo. An internal row between the pair caused fractures behind the scenes, especially as the Wales international is a well-respected figure in the dressing room.
It remains to be seen whether the manager can get his career back on track in Saudi Arabia and if he is able to put an end to Al-Hilal’s three-season long spell at the top of the table. One has to wonder whether he will return to the Premier League one day.
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