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L’Equipe: Newcastle in “concrete contact” with Mauricio Pochettino for manager

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But the Saudi buyout has to happen first!

Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Muenchen: Group B - UEFA Champions League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Former Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is one step closer to becoming the next manager of Newcastle United, according to L’Equipe (paywalled, via Get French Football News). The French paper, in an article about how Newcastle’s recruitment from the French leagues could shift if the club is sold, notes that there has now been “concrete contact” between the club and Pochettino.

“Concrete contact” can mean any number of things, but considering that the purchase of Newcastle by a Saudi Arabia-led consortium hasn’t yet been finalized, we can probably safely assume that any discussions between Pochettino and the club are purely hypothetical and probably done through intermediaries at this stage. It does, however, suggest that there’s interest on both sides on taking the Argentine (and presumably his full cadre of assistant coaches) up north.

There are numerous reports that state Newcastle will need to pay Tottenham more than £12m in compensation if they appoint him during May, but if managerial negotiations stretch into June he would be available for free.

Newcastle would be a curious choice for Pochettino, but his options may be limited if he wants to a) manage next season and b) stay in the Premier League. Should the Saudi takeover happen — and it appears likely it will — it’s very probable that Newcastle will soon afterwards be flush with cash, allowing Pochettino to oversee a major overhaul of the club from top to bottom with Manchester City-level of funding. That might be appealing to Poch, but rebuilds take time, and sometimes it’s not a good thing to be the first manager overseeing a rebuild. Just ask Mark Hughes.

It’s way too early to say with any certainty whether Pochettino will be installing bowls of lemons at St. James’ Park next season — Steve Bruce is still the manager there at present — but it does appear as though he’s at least willing to listen to the idea.