Chelsea have major advantage over Man United in Thomas Tuchel pursuit amid Pochettino uncertainty

Head coach Thomas Tuchel  looks on

Chelsea could have the upper hand over Manchester United in a potential battle to bring Thomas Tuchel back to Stamford Bridge this summer.

The futures of Mauricio Pochettino and Erik ten Hag are hanging in the balance after less-than-stellar seasons. Pochettino is set for end-of-season talks with the Chelsea board. Despite his team's spirited comeback from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Aston Villa last weekend, the Argentine may still find himself out of a job following another turbulent season at the Bridge.

In Pochettino's first year at the helm, Chelsea have managed just 13 wins from 33 Premier League games, letting in 59 goals - more than double that of league leaders Arsenal who thrashed them 5-0 recently. Ten Hag's United side are only six points clear of the Blues, having suffered 12 league defeats this season.

United finished third and lifted the Carabao Cup in Ten Hag's inaugural season, amassing 75 points, but are on track to finish with just 61 points this time around. Even though they're still in the running for the FA Cup, the Dutchman could be shown the door after a series of disappointing performances and results in his second season.

If both Pochettino and Ten Hag find themselves out of a job, it could pave the way for a tug-of-war between Chelsea and United over Tuchel. The current Bayern Munich boss, who defied expectations to clinch the Champions League with Chelsea in 2021, is set to be the most decorated free agent manager this summer, reports the Express.

Despite his impending exit, he's still aiming to steer Bayern to European glory this year. Both Chelsea and United have been linked with the German coach.

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Besides his past connection with Chelsea, the Blues have another advantage over United if they decide to chase their former 50-year-old manager.

According to the Daily Mail, United won't make any decisions about Ten Hag's future until after the FA Cup final against Manchester City on Saturday 25 May. In contrast, Chelsea's final match is on Sunday 19 May when they welcome Bournemouth on the Premier League season's closing day.

The meeting with Pochettino will take place after that, but the decision-makers at Chelsea are likely to have made up their minds by then. If they choose to part ways, they might contact Tuchel's team before United are in a position to move in order to gauge his interest in a return to Stamford Bridge.

Should Chelsea decide to dismiss Pochettino immediately after the season ends, it would give them an opportunity to present Tuchel with a firm offer before United get the chance. Tuchel has previously hinted at his desire to return due to his affection for the club.

Despite being shown the door by Todd Boehly in September 2022, BILD reports that Tuchel would be open to a second spell in London to prove his worth to the American. Following Tuchel's departure, Graham Potter had a challenging eight-month stint, and the team's performances didn't improve under interim manager Frank Lampard. Pochettino has only shown sporadic signs of promise.

Chelsea finished 12th last season and despite splashing out over £1billion on new signings in two years under Boehly, they could still end up in the bottom half this term. However, Tuchel was a fan favourite and if a new gaffer is needed for the next season, he'll be high on the list.

In addition to Tuchel, United are also reportedly eyeing former Chelsea boss Potter, who is on Ajax's radar, while England manager Gareth Southgate won't be available until late July at the earliest.

If United miss out on Tuchel to their Premier League rivals, it would be a bitter pill to swallow for Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his team as they aim to return the Red Devils to their past glory - but it will be their own fault after delaying their decision on Ten Hag's future.