Argentina is looking for a new manager for its national team, and Tottenham Hotspur’s manager is in the crosshairs of the Argentine Football Association (AFA). Former manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino resigned last month in the wake of Argentina’s Copa America final loss to Chile in the United States, and Pochettino has been tipped as a possible candidate for the position, along with Diego Simeone and Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli.
According to the Reuters report, Simeone and Sampaoli appear to be at the top of the list, with both managers having previously expressed an interest in managing Argentina. Armando Perez, the head of the AFA’s Regularization Committee, plans to travel to Spain to speak to both of them. It’s implied that Pochettino will be, for now, only sounded out.
Perez, president of first division club Belgrano, will not be visiting Tottenham Hotspur manager Pochettino, another former Argentina player widely regarded as a future national coach, in London but plans to talk to him from Spain about his availability, AFA sources daily told La Nacion.
This news is surprising, but not necessarily worrisome, at least not yet. Pochettino is a fast-rising manager, and while it would not surprise me in the slightest if the idea of managing his country’s national team would appeal to him, it would very much surprise me if this becomes a realistic possibility at this stage this summer.
The AFA is currently a dumpster fire. It’s virtually bankrupt at present and has been dogged by persistent accusations of corruption. While the second consecutive Copa America final loss to Chile didn’t help matters, former manager Martino resigned over clashes with the AFA and a “leadership vacuum” in selecting players for next month’s Olympic squad in Rio. The mass retirements of Argentine international stars like Lionel Messi were also attributed in part to the chaotic status of the AFA.
It’s not a pretty situation, and it’s unclear whether Pochettino would even want the job right now under these circumstances. The fact that Perez would be calling Pochettino instead of visiting him personally also suggests that he’s not the AFA’s first choice. So keep an eye on this story, but nobody needs to start panicking about Spurs losing their manager anytime soon. It’s already looking pretty unlikely that this is going to turn out to be a thing. Poche has already rebuffed moves away from Spurs to bigger clubs in the Premier League, and while Argentina is in theory a great job I’m not sure why he’d want to leave a good thing at Tottenham to walk into a rebuilding Argentina team with disastrous leadership.
The AFA wants to name a new manager as soon as possible due to upcoming World Cup qualifying matches in September.