Former Tottenham star Jan Vertonghen has been speaking out about Mauricio Pochettino’s plans for his next management job.
The Belgian centre-back, who now plays for Benfica in the Liga Portuguesa, was at Spurs for the entire period that Pochettino was manager and is well-placed to give an insight as to what the Argentinian coach is looking for.
There has been much speculation that Pochettino wants to manage Manchester United and his is the first name to be mentioned when there is any doubt over current incumbent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future.
And Vertonghen’s comments have done nothing to dispel the rumours that the 48-year-old is waiting it out in the hopes of getting the Old Trafford job.
‘I can imagine he’s impatient,’ Vertonghen told CBS Soccer via The MEN.
‘I think the English league suits him very well as he’s a manager that prioritises fitness levels and the physicality of the game.
‘I think managing in the Premier League is probably the best thing he can do.
‘He will always want to coach a big team I guess, so you have to look at the biggest teams in the league and there are only two or three you can really look at I think at this point.
‘I won’t name them out of respect for the other managers, but I think that’s what he’s looking at.’
Reading between the lines, with Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola’s jobs seeming quite secure at Liverpool and Manchester City, respectively, and a return to Tottenham seeming highly unlikely, the only remaining candidates would be United, Chelsea and Arsenal.
In 2018,Pochettino said ‘I’m never going to coach Barcelona, Arsenal or Rosario Central because I’m very closely linked to Espanyol and Tottenham.
‘I’ve also grown up at Newell’s – Central’s big rival – and I’ll never coach Rosario. I’d rather work on my farm in Argentina than coach certain clubs,’ effectively narrowing the list even further.
The fact is that there are few other clubs in the world that would be a step up from Spurs, even outside of the Premier League. Andrea Pirlo’s shaky start as Juventus boss could put Pochettino on alert and Antonio Conte’s relationship with Inter Milan’s owners is fractious, but whether Italy would appeal to the ambitious coach is unknown.
Pochettino will have been out of work exactly one year on November 19th.
This summer’s transfer window was at times frustrating and disappointing. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.