Jose Mourinho would cost Tottenham £25 million to sack him and pay up the remaining two years of his contract.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is expected to give Mourinho a stay of execution to see if he can deliver the club’s first trophy since 2008 in next month’s Carabao Cup final and a top-four finish.
But with fans in open revolt against the manager’s sterile tactics after the dismal Europa League exit at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb, he has almost run out of road.
Mourinho, whose salary is believed to be in excess of £12m-a-year, gave his players the silent treatment after the calamitous defeat in Croatia.
He claimed a change of attitude was required to save their season and raged: “I have this very bad feeling because maybe for some people, football is a job or a way to make money.”
And captain Hugo Lloris hinted broadly at dressing room discord, branding the 3-0 defeat a “disgrace” and adding: “It is a reflection of what is going on in the club. I hope everyone in the changing room feels responsible. We have to respect the badge.”
But only a return to Champions League orbit next season – reaching the final was worth £100m to Tottenham two years ago – is likely to save Mourinho now.
And that would require Spurs to bridge the six-point gap to his former club Chelsea in fourth place.
Tottenham’s £1 billion new stadium and the Covid-19 pandemic have strained Tottenham’s finances.
Levy, who has remained supportive of his under-fire manager, is understood to be reluctant to pull the trigger, not least because Spurs would have to find a huge lump sum.
But patience among the supporters is exhausted with Tottenham knocked out of Europe after squandering a two-goal lead against a side whose coach was in prison, out of the FA Cup and eighth in Premier League.
The hashtag #JoseOut was trending on Twitter and defeat at Aston Villa on Sunday night will intensify the pressure on Levy to act.