Can Spurs realistically expect to hold on to Mauricio Pochettino in the summer?
When Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho a week before Christmas, it was Christmas come early for fans of the Red Devils, who could finally see an end in sight to the grey clouds that hung over Old Trafford during Mourinho’s tenure. One name to be heavily linked to the job was Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, who has improved Spurs immeasurably since joining from Southampton in the summer of 2014.
Tottenham fans have nothing to fear for now, as United hired former player Ole Gunnar Solskjær to take charge until the end of the season. But behind the scenes at Old Trafford, the board will be eager to pick the perfect replacement to take over in time for the new season, having been disappointed by their appointments since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and Pochettino looks likely to be one of the leading names for that job.
For United though, they may wish to avoid the hassle of having to deal with Daniel Levy, who has built a reputation for being a tough negotiator. When Manchester United signed Michael Carrick and Dimitar Berbatov, the transfer deals took a long while to be completed. Their reluctance to bid for Tottenham defenders Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose, two players who could have helped United improve their defensive record, suggests that they may look elsewhere for the perfect manager to lead their club back to the glory days. Without a release clause in his contract and with four years left following the renewal last summer, Levy will demand a lot to release the man who has proven his worth, even if a trophy has eluded him thus far.
Real Madrid are another team reported to be interested in sign Pochettino and this is a side who are more likely to strike fear into the hearts of Spurs fans. Madrid have struggled domestically this season, under both Julen Lopetegui and former player Santiago Solari. Los Blancos currently sit in third place in La Liga and without talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, who signed for Juventus last summer, the team are in disarray.
Madrid would certainly be more willing to pay the price for fixing their sinking ship and having been linked to Harry Kane and Dele Alli in the past, signing Pochettino could be the first step in luring the two English talents to Spain. With both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid sitting above them in the table, Madrid’s president Florentino Perez knows that the fans will be unhappy if there aren’t serious changes over the summer.
Pochettino wouldn’t be the first person to join Madrid from Tottenham, as Luka Modric and Gareth Bale joined the club in the summers of 2012 and 2013 respectively and have remained at Los Blancos ever since. Unlike United, Real Madrid have a friendly relationship with Tottenham and Tottenham owner Daniel Levy and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez have a good relationship, despite Madrid often seeking out Spurs players to add to their squad.
As Spurs’ seasons starts to show signs of derailing and with the Premier League title odds seeing the Lilywhites drop further and further away from the current favourites Liverpool, this summer might seem like the ideal opportunity for Pochettino to move onto pastures new. If he does wish to leave this summer, don’t expect Levy to let him go without a battle.
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