Mauricio Pochettino was always going to be difficult to pry away from Tottenham Hotspur, and — shock! — the eternal allure of Old Trafford might not be enough for Poch to leave Spurs for another rebuilding job in Manchester. So if you’re a Spurs fan (and you probably are), there’s a new article that is going to make for some cheery reading.
According to the Telegraph, United officials are increasingly worried that they may not be able to lure Pochettino away from Tottenham, and are now considering making an approach for England manager Gareth Southgate, OBE. Another name on the shortlist is former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane. Also Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, probably, though nobody seems to talk about him.
There would be some kind of hubris to taking the most successful England manager in a generation and plucking him from the national team to lead the current sixth place team in the Premier League, but this is Manchester United we’re talking about. Southgate wouldn’t come cheap, either — he recently signed an extension to his contract that keeps him England manager through the 2022 World Cup, and even if he wanted the job United would have to pay through the nose to get him. On the other hand, they’d also have to pay through the nose to get Pochettino, and United can basically print money, so whatever.
There’s also the question as to whether Southgate could translate the same success he’s had with a very good England team to a talented but mercurial Manchester United squad considering his entire club coaching career consists of a 29% win percentage at Middlesbrough but shhhhhhh let’s not talk about that too loudly.
This doesn’t mean that United are giving up on getting Poch. Quite the opposite, the Telegraph makes it clear that Poch is still the top choice of Ed Woodward. However, it is nice to know that there are apparently some cracks in the resolve of United’s top brass and that they’re looking at some contingencies.
Really, nothing has changed much. It’s still pretty much down to Pochettino and whether he wants the job and is up for another rebuilding project at United, but with a lot more money. That still might be a thing he wants to do, and we probably won’t know for a while yet.
However, this cheered me up quite a bit. Go on, United — Southgate’s waiting for your call. Go get your man.