Mauricio Pochettino wants to be the new manager of Manchester United, according to multiple reports.
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Pochettino, 49, is the current manager at Paris Saint-Germain but several reports, including this one from the Manchester Evening News, are reporting that he’s keen to take charge at Old Trafford now. talkSPORT go as far as reporting that Pochettino is ‘desperate’ to take charge at United.
UPDATE: A new report from French journalist Julien Laurens states that Pochettino wants to move to United now, as he doesn’t believe the PSG project is a good long-term fit for him. He also reports that PSG have made contact with Zinedine Zidane about replacing Pochettino.
Quoted by French outlet RMC, this is what Pochettino had to say when asked about his future at PSG before they face Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League.
“I’m fine in Paris. I know the city well both as a player and as a coach, I’ve always experienced these kinds of situations,” Pochettino said. “Things happen and it’s not my responsibility. What I’m going to say if you ask me I am happy in Paris.”
He added the following in a press conference:
“I’m not a kid. I’m not a child. We are in football – it’s a business where the rumors are there and I completely understand what’s going on,” Pochettino said. “Sometimes in a positive way or a negative way. This type of thing cannot distract. Rumours are there. We need to live with that. We are so focused. I am so happy on Paris Saint-Germain. For tomorrow we are so focused on getting the best result we can.”
Poch was asked directly about Man United’s supposed plans to hire him.
“We cannot talk about that because of my respect towards my club. What another club is doing in this moment is not my business I’m not going to make the mistake to talk as we know everything we say will be taken out of context and misunderstood,” Pochettino said.
Not exactly the words of someone who doesn’t want the Manchester United job…
It is believed that United would have to pay PSG in the region of $13.4 million to hire Pochettino. Previously it had been reported that United will wait until the end of the 2021-22 season to appoint a new manager.
According to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports, Pochettino is United’s number one target to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is also high on their list and both he and Pochettino will have one year left on their current deals when next summer rolls around.
With PSG pushing to win the UEFA Champions League under Pochettino this season, it’s likely he’ll try to see out the campaign with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe leading the charge.
If you start to connect the dots, it all makes sense.
Dominoes starting to fall
Manchester United have already confirmed they will hire an interim manager for the rest of the 2021-22 campaign ahead of appointing a new manager. However, if they do that and don’t hire Pochettino now, do they run the risk of missing out on him in the summer?
It could also be a smart move to delay appointing a new boss as executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is expected to leave in early 2022 and a new leader of the football side of the club, plus a new direction, will be ushered in before a new manager is appointed.
But if Pochettino leaves PSG, Zinedine Zidane could then replace him at PSG and that could keep the likes of Mbappe around longer.
Man United gets a great manager with a strong identity. Pochettino gets a move back to the Premier League. Zidane gets one of the top jobs in the world. PSG gets a proven winner and they may be able to hold on to Mbappe.
Again, everybody wins. This all makes too much sense, which means it may not happen.
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But if it does, it will rectify the mistake which United made back in December 2018.
They should have gone all out to hire Pochettino from Tottenham then and they should have paid whatever they had to to make that happen.
Instead they went for a caretaker boss in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and three years later, here we are.
United finished in the top four in each of the last two seasons but they are pretty close to where they were three years ago when they should have hired Pochettino.
We all know how good of a coach he is and Sir Alex Ferguson saw it firsthand in 2013 when he coached against Pochettino’s Southampton. He has stayed in touch with him ever since and the legendary United coach will no doubt be asking for Poch to come in.
The only question should be this for Manchester United: do they hire Pochettino now or in the summer? It really is that simple.