Mauricio Pochettino open to leaving Paris St-Germain if Man Utd make approach
Mauricio Pochettino is open to becoming Manchester United manager and it is not out of the question they could get the Paris St-Germain boss now.
The Argentine is held in high regard at Old Trafford but there was a feeling it might be difficult to prise him away from PSG mid-season.
United sacked Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday and said they were looking to appoint an interim manager.
But Pochettino’s potential availability could change that.
It is not thought United have made an approach yet but the 49-year-old is less than completely happy with the setup at PSG, where his role is essentially that of first-team coach, with all broader club and footballing issues handled by sporting director Leonardo.
Pochettino enjoyed more control during his five years in charge of Tottenham and is known to be keen on a return to the Premier League.
He has never made any secret of the fact he would like to manage in the English game again and while he is living in a hotel in Paris, his family remain in London. That travel element is not thought to be a hugely significant factor though, given it is as easy to get to the capital from Paris as it is from Manchester.
The former Southampton boss has been in charge of PSG for 10 months and this season they are 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after 14 games and a point behind Manchester City in their Champions League group. Indeed, Pochettino will be in Manchester this week for his team’s game against the Premier League champions.
Part of his unhappiness in Paris is around the culture of the club. His team includes superstars like Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar but the squad is unbalanced. There is a surplus of left-backs, for example, and there was a feeling they did not need to sign Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the summer.
Those recruitment decisions are out of Pochettino’s hands since, on transfers, he is essentially an advisor to Leonardo.
After taking charge at Parc des Princes in January, Pochettino endured a difficult first season as he attempted to overcome the long-standing criticism of him – that he has not won major trophies.
He lifted the Trophee des Champions – the French equivalent of the Community Shield – within days of taking over and went on to win the French Cup in May.
But PSG failed to win the Ligue 1 title for only the second time in nine seasons, finishing a point behind Lille, and were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester City in the semi-finals.
Pochettino is reluctant to force a move mid-season but a switch to Old Trafford could work for both parties, since the Qatari owners of PSG are known to be keen admirers of Zinedine Zidane, the former Real Madrid manager who is out of work.
There are other possibilities for United, though.
They are also known to admire Ajax’s Erik Ten Hag but it is believed he would be unwilling to leave the club in mid-season. Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers also has his admirers.
If United do go for an interim appointment, their former France defender Laurent Blanc has been mentioned as a potential candidate. He has not had a job in Europe since 2016 and is working in Qatar.
It has also been suggested former United skipper Steve Bruce would be interested in the short-term role following his exit from Newcastle.