Tottenham's search for a new manager was plunged into further chaos late on Thursday night when the club ended talks with Gennaro Gattuso over their vacant manager's position.
It came amid a fierce backlash from supporters over the proposed appointment of the Italian, who has a history of backward comments about women in football, same-sex marriage and racism.
Gattuso yesterday emerged as the leading contender when he left Fiorentina after just 23 days in charge and Spurs ended their pursuit of Paulo Fonseca, who had agreed in principle to accept the job.
It is unclear where Spurs go from here following the latest twist in a protracted and shambolic search for a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho, who was sacked two months ago on April 19.
The hashtag #NoToGattuso was trending on Twitter in the UK last night as fans rallied in opposition to reports that Spurs were discussing a two-year deal with the 43-year-old.
The Tottenham Hotspur Supporters' Trust (THST) revealed they had relayed fan sentiment to the club, writing on Twitter: "As ever, it isn’t wise for us to comment on speculation. However, we can and do communicate supporter sentiment to the decision-makers at the Club, and have done so very clearly on this occasion.
"We are aware of and acting on your concerns around potential managerial candidates."
Fonseca and Gattuso were both recommendations of incoming managing director Fabio Paratici, who held talks with the latter about replacing head-coach Andrea Pirlo during his time as Juventus' chief football officer.
Gattuso left Fiorentina, where he was named head coach on May 15, by mutual consent after a row over transfer targets, reportedly because the club refused to pursue recommendations of his agent, Jorge Mendes.
The former Italy international midfielder has also had spells in charge of his former club AC Milan and Napoli, where he won the only trophy of his managerial career with the 2020 Coppa Italia.
As of yesterday morning, Fonseca was confident of being appointed on a two-year deal, with the option of a further season, but Spurs abruptly ended their interest in the 48-year-old Portuguese, who would have effectively completed a job swap with new Roma head coach Mourinho.
Spurs sources insisted the decision had nothing to do with money following reports in Italy suggesting Fonseca had asked for a pay hike after learning that certain tax breaks he enjoyed in the country do not apply in the UK.
In a twist of fate, Fonseca is said to be Fiorentina's top choice to succeed Gattuso, while Spurs today insisted they were continuing talks with other targets.
Spurs' search for a new manager has already included talks with former Chelsea and Inter Milan coach Antonio Conte, Ajax's Erik ten Hag and Hansi Flick, who is set to become the new Germany coach after Euro 2020.
Talks with Conte broke down over the Italian's demands and a perceived reluctance to work with young players.
The club also sounded out former manager Mauricio Pochettino, who was reluctant to force his way out of Paris Saint-Germain, while their original first choice Julian Nagelsmann agreed to succeed Flick at Bayern Munich and another early target, Brendan Rodgers, indicated his desire to stay at Leicester.
Paratici, who is set to officially assume his new position on July 1, will have responsibility for the football side of the club and is set to take the lead on choosing the new manager.
Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, admitted last month that the club had "lost sight of what's truly in our DNA" and promised to appoint a coach who will play attacking football and promote young players.