Ambition, style and dignity: Why Man United have earmarked Mauricio Pochettino as Solskjaer’s successor

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
Ambition, style and dignity: Why Man United have earmarked Mauricio Pochettino as Solskjaer’s successor
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Mauricio Pochettino is the ideal candidate for the Manchester United manager’s job, or so the club have decided.

Standard Sport reported on Monday that the Red Devils hierarchy is plotting a patient approach for the Paris Saint-Germain boss, perhaps arriving in the Ligue 1 winter break, to ensure they do not rush appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s replacement.

But what is it about Pochettino that is so worth the wait? A quick glance at his trophy cabinet reveals only a Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions (the French Community Shield) - an honour he could not even defend with his star-studded PSG squad this season.

Perhaps that is the point. The learned view in football has been for some time that Pochettino is capable of masterminding a team that can dominate a league - he just has not had the chance.

While PSG fumbled the Ligue 1 title race to Lille last year - the ex-defender joined in January a point off the lead, the same margin with which they finished - this time around will be different. An 11-point lead after only 14 games played is unassailable for a team that boasts Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

Pochettino will have finally won a league crown by the summer and could add the Champions League, with plenty of time to rest his stars from domestic duty come the spring. Should he do the double - or treble with the very plausible Coupe de France on top - there will be no argument: he will be a fully-fledged member of the game’s elite.

Why wouldn’t United want such a manager? The argument, as the club may see it, only grows when considering how he got there. Parking the Champions League question, it is true that purely by winning the Ligue 1 title Pochettino would have benefited from a vastly superior squad full of star-studded players.

But United will not care. They signed Cristiano Ronaldo for their last manager specifically to do just that. Getting the best out of these superstars is a skill in itself and if the Argentine can demonstrate it, that is a big plus on Solskjaer for starters.

Another important factor for the Red Devils is bringing through youth and again Pochettino has a reasonable history in this regard, with the likes of Eric Ebimbe and 18-year-old Nathan Bitumazala gradually nudging up the Parisian pecking order.

This leads onto the humanity that the former Tottenham and Southampton manager has in abundance, which is something this United hierarchy now seek. Solskjaer was a club legend yes, but also a nice bloke. The spikier characters now appear to turn off Ed Woodward and Co as they look for the more dignified, personal touch having been scarred by Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

It is entirely plausible that United, more than, say, Chelsea, will look at Pochettino’s tears for guiding Spurs to a Champions League final and think: “We’ll have some of that”. With Pochettino comes ambition but also dignity, a club ambassador who can be the face of a massive global enterprise one night and greet locals at a fan forum the next.

As for the tactics, needs must. As a manager, he demands energy and tenacity but is not wedded to one style like his fellow candidate, Brendan Rodgers. Again, that suits United as the club prides itself on winning matches - not in any particular way.

If Pochettino does want to leave PSG, where Mbappe’s potential summer exit and disagreements over the next step are reportedly major issues, it is little wonder United want to be first in the queue. Whether a notoriously haphazard club are any better at persuading him to commit to them may be another matter entirely.

Read More

Next Man United manager odds: Mauricio Pochettino, Brendan Rodgers and Erik ten Hag tipped

The pros and cons of Man United’s manager shortlist: From Pochettino’s ambition to Ten Hag’s goal fests

Mauricio Pochettino: Manchester United willing to be patient with PSG boss keen on Old Trafford move

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting