Tottenham Hotspur's manager search continues to rumble on, with the only definitive news of late coming from journalist Dan Kilpatrick, who noted Julian Nagelsmann's exit from contention.

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It has been nothing but bad news of late for the Lilywhites, capped off by their poor showing over the weekend which saw them lose precious ground in the race to retain European football.

In an effort to appease fans, fellow writer Jack Pitt-Brooke did release a potential four-man shortlist of those who pose an alternative to the German coach, of which Xabi Alonso remains an option.

As someone lacking long-held experience as a boss at the top of the game, his persisting presence around this job vacancy only adds to the credence regarding the rumours. Despite the 41-year-old having only overseen 41 matches of top-flight football, Daniel Levy has clearly been convinced of something that makes the former Liverpool midfielder a worthy candidate.

Although tactically very new to the game, his pedigree as one of the best in his role for many years as a player makes him a desirable coach to play under.

Should Spurs swoop to appoint him, it could aid their reported pursuit of AS Roma's Brazilian centre-back Roger Ibanez, who despite an €80m (£71m) release clause could cost closer to €50m (£43m).

How has Roger Ibanez played this season?

As a flexible defender who has featured both in a pairing and a back three this season, the 24-year-old has enjoyed an outstanding year under Jose Mourinho.

This versatility instantly would make him a fine asset for Alonso, who too flits between various shapes that include a 3-4-3 and 4-2-3-1. However, it is his imperious defensive qualities that would truly endear him to the Real Madrid legend, as his 2.1 interceptions, 2.1 tackles and 2.9 clearances per game have led to his 7.04 average rating, via Sofascore.

Pairing this with an 88% pass accuracy is suggestive that the stalwart would also thrive whilst playing out from the back, with Bayer Leverkusen have sought to do since they appointed their new boss.

xabi-alonso-tottenham-manager

An affinity for striding out of defence alongside unflappable defensive qualities unsurprisingly draws comparisons with RB Leipzig wonderkid Josko Gvardiol, who has been imperious ever since that winter World Cup.

When compared, the two rank similarly for blocked shots (0.37 vs 0.45), and pass interceptions (4.65 vs 5.03), indicative of their ability to be in the right place at the right time and position themselves well, while their pass completion percentage (90.11% vs 92%), via 1One versus One demonstrates their ball-playing ability.

This was further outlined in that tournament in Qatar, where Gvardiol averaged 1.6 tackles and 5.3 clearances per game, as well as a 90% pass accuracy, via Sofascore.

As the foundation of Mourinho's backline, it pays to be a top-quality defender under the tutelage of a world-class manager. Journalist Josh Bunting even noticed this, branding Ibanez "outstanding" within this system just last year.

Should he move to north London with Alonso, the two could provide another instant foundation with which success could be built, without having to spend near the reported £75m needed to sign the Croatian alternative.