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Cesare Prandelli in summer picture if Spurs sack Tim Sherwood

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli could replace Tim Sherwood in the Tottenham dugout over the summer as his current deal to manage the Azzurri is set to expire when the World Cup ends.

Reports in the British press claim Spurs chairman Daniel Levy spoke with Prandelli, 56, when he sacked Andre Villas-Boas in November.

Speculation will only be strengthened by the close relationship Prandelli has with Tottenham technical director Franco Baldini.

Under Sherwood, Spurs have won seven of 12 matches – a ratio of 58.3 per cent (higher than predecessor AVB) – and are 2/1 to finish in the top-four with Coral.

If he does not deliver Champions League football for next term, however, Levy could axe the managerial novice at the end of the season.

Sherwood is a 25/1 shot to be the next Premier League manager to leave his post, way behind even-money favourite and former Tottenham player Chris Hughton, who is in charge at Norwich City.

Prandelli, who succeeded World Cup winning coach Marcello Lippi as Azzurri boss in 2010, is set for talks with the Italian football federation (FIGC) in March about his future. Early indications are that he wants to return to club management.

Since becoming coach of his country, Prandelli has lost just two competitive matches – the Euro 2012 final to Spain and a dead rubber Confederations Cup group game with World Cup hosts Brazil.

Former Roma and Fiorentina boss Prandelli is understood to be open to the idea of coaching in the Premier League. He has reportedly been taking English lessons since Levy spoke with him.

Dutch managers Louis van Gaal, currently in charge of the Netherlands national side, and Frank de Boer, who is at Ajax, have also been linked with replacing Sherwood at White Hart Lane.

Van Gaal, 62, said there was “a chance” he could join Tottenham after the World Cup as he has missed day-to-day management.

Should Spurs go for De Boer, who has won the last three Eredivisie titles, he could bring Arsenal icon Dennis Bergkamp with him as his assistant.

Tottenham playing favourite Jurgen Klinsmann has also been linked with coming in, but is under contract as national coach of the USA until 2018.

Ex-midfielder Sherwood remains in charge for now and is preparing Spurs for their Europa League last 32 first leg clash in Ukraine against Dnipro. Back Tottenham at 6/4 to win this match and 8/1 to go all the way.