Mauricio Pochettino is apparently Real Madrid chairman Florentino Perez’s top target to replace Zinedine Zidane as manager, but even if Pochettino gets his head turned, Daniel Levy isn’t going to make it easy.
According to Matt Hughes in the Times, Tottenham Hotspur would demand a full buyout of Pochettino’s new contract, which he just signed last week, costing the La Liga giants £42.5m to pry him out of North London. And that’s if Levy even gives Pochettino permission to speak with Madrid, which given the timing of Zidane’s resignation and Poch’s new contract, is not at all a given.
Despite speculation to the contrary, Pochettino’s new contract reportedly does NOT include a clause that would allow him to speak with representatives from Real Madrid or PSG in the event of a managerial opening. Those rumors apparently emerged out of the Spanish media, and the club has gone to great pains to dispel those allegations. That gives Spurs a great deal of leverage when it comes to negotiating with any manager who would make an approach. £42.5m is a LOT of money for a manager who, despite what he’s done with Tottenham, has never won any silverware as a manager at any level.
Real Madrid is definitely a glamour job, but there are signs that there could be a major rebuilding going on at the Bernabeu next season. Madrid’s core superstars — Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, and Karim Benzema — are all on the wrong side of 30. Gareth Bale is making noises suggesting he wants out this summer. Their manager, Zidane, just resigned after winning his third consecutive Champions League title, possibly because he wants to get out before the bottom drops out.
All that’s to say that while being a Madrid manager is prestigious, it’s only a good job if you’re able to win, and win immediately. The pressure would be enormous, and it’s not clear yet what kind of situation any new manager, Pochettino included, would be walking into.
I’m still not concerned about Poch leaving, and I don’t think you should be either. He certainly seems happy with life in North London and has an incredible amount of power and freedom where he’s at. Pochettino abandoning Spurs for Madrid a week after committing his future to the club would go against everything we think we know about him from the past few years.
I won’t get drawn into saying that he’ll never leave Tottenham, but it certainly seems like if he keeps on his present trajectory he might get another bite of this particular apple a couple of years down the road. Then, perhaps, Spurs fans should start getting worried. But not today.