Manchester United left dangling as Mauricio Pochettino heads for Spain

by Red Billy

Mauricio Pochettino may not be available to Manchester United much longer as some high profile changes are lined up on the managerial merry-go-round.

The Argentinian has been out of work since he was sacked by Spurs’ chairman Daniel Levy in November after five years at the helm of the London club.

There have since been a number of reports suggesting that the Red Devils were lining him up to take over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the end of the season, with reliable sources such as Italian reporter Alfredo Pedulla and Talk Sport’s Phil Brown convinced that talks between Poch and the Old Trafford club are at an advanced stage.

It has even been suggested that executive vice chairman Ed Woodward was already buying players off the 47-year-old’s shopping list rather than that of Solskjaer when in January United changed their stance on Bruno Fernandes – a player he was desperate to sign for Spurs last summer – having snubbed him in August.

But now there appears to be a fly in the ointment, caused by two Champions League upsets – Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat of Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and Lyon’s 1-0 win over Juventus at the Groupama stadium.

Despite the fact that both Real and Juve having been in the lead in their respective domestic leagues (although Juve are currently two points behind Lazio with a game in hand), these two huge clubs demand excellence and success in Europe and the results have therefore put immense pressure on managers Maurizio Sarri and Zinedine Zidane.

According to The Mail, Juventus and Sarri are set to part ways even if the Lyon result is overturned and that Zidane is the man they want to take over from him.

It is a move that is likely to appeal to the Frenchman. According to The Mail, ‘Zidane and Real … will likely part ways this summer amid rumblings of discontent from senior players at the Bernabeu’ and Juventus – a club dear to his heart having represented them for five years as a player – holds huge appeal.

The move would reunite Zizou with star player Cristiano Ronaldo and club president Andrea Agnelli, with both of whom he has an excellent relationship.

It would also align Zidane with a club that shares his aspiration to sign Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.

Juve are reported to have lined up a £6 million-a-year package for the Frenchman.

The move would solve a problem for Real’s president Florentino Perez, who would not need to sack Zidane a second time nor buy out the rest of his contract. And The Independent reports that los Blancos are already lining up Pochettino to replace him as head coach.

It was known that the Argentinian preferred another job in the Premier League to a move to Serie A, but an approach from Madrid may be impossible to resist. If Woodward was indeed lining up Poch to take the reins in summer, this would throw United’s plans into chaos.

Of course, convincing second leg victories in those two Champions League ties this week may change the landscape completely at both clubs. But as things stand, it is looking increasingly unlikely that Pochettino will still be available to Manchester United in June should they be looking to replace Solskjaer.

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