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Report: Mauricio Pochettino is still Real Madrid’s first choice for next coach

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It is, though, unlikely that he would join the club immediately.

Tottenham Hotspur v Cardiff City - Premier League

Once again, Real Madrid are reportedly searching for a new manager, as Julen Lopetegui is expected to be fired this week after only a few months in charge. That also means that Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino is being discussed as a replacement again, and while the reigning European champions are still keen to hire him, he likely will not be leaving London immediately.

Per several reports, former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is Real Madrid’s current choice to succeed Lopetegui. However, according to The Independent’s Miguel Delaney, the discussions between the two parties have hit a bit of a roadblock in negotiating a contract. Madrid is currently interested in a deal that would go until the end of the 2018-19 season, while Conte would prefer to stick around longer at the Santiago Bernabéu. The reason why Real Madrid would rather hire essentially an interim manager, though, is because they would like to hire Pochettino to start in the 2019-2020 season.

Delaney reports that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is aware that it would be “impossible” to convince Pochettino to leave Tottenham mid-season, and so will not attempt to do so. In that case, Perez will attempt to sign Pochettino by the end of this season in order to have him coaching from 2019 onwards.

Pochettino has long been linked to the Real Madrid job, with the Spanish giants obviously interested in hiring him. The club was reportedly interested in having the Argentine replace Zinedine Zidane after his surprise resignation in May, a move that obviously never came to be after Pochettino signed a new contract at Tottenham.

For his part, Pochettino has always remained coy when asked about a possible move to Madrid. In June, he told Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, “When Real Madrid call you, you have to listen to them,” but quickly followed that up by saying he was “happy” at Tottenham.

However things shake out at the Santiago Bernabéu, it seems as if Tottenham have no immediate cause for concern. That might be a different story in several months, but even then, Daniel Levy and Pochettino himself might be prepared to handle such interest.