Experienced manager labelled ‘outstanding choice’ by Gary Neville suggests Man Utd still very much on his radar

Maurizio Pochettino Zinedine Zidane Man Utd 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: Alamy
Maurizio Pochettino Zinedine Zidane Man Utd 2022 TEAMtalk1 Credit: Alamy

Mauricio Pochettino has dropped a big hint that he still has ambitions to manage Manchester United and would jump at the chance if the time is right.

The 50-year-old is currently out of work after parting company with Paris Saint-Germain last summer. The Argentinian tactician had just guided the Parisians to the Ligue 1 title. But club bosses did not see that as sufficient to keep him in the post.

And that was after the former Tottenham chief had inked a contract extension in July 2021, supposedly keeping him at the club until the summer of 2023.

Having arrived at the Parc des Princes in January 2021, Pochettino guided his men to Coupe de France glory that season.

But they lost out to Lille by one point in the league, settling for a place in the Champions League.

The capital outfit romped to the French top-flight title last term, finishing 15 points clear of second-placed Marseille.

But they were eliminated from the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Real Madrid.

Having won the first leg 1-0 on home soil, they went down 3-1 at the Bernabeu. And it seems that failure to progress in Europe’s elite club competition lost the South American his job.

United were linked with the ex-Southampton manager during the summer as they looked for a new boss.

The Red Devils opted for Erik ten Hag but it appears as though Pochettino does not consider the door closed at the Theatre of Dreams.

“Football is timing. It’s the moments for it to coincide and for that marriage to happen,” he told Radio Marca.

“Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. I don’t believe that trains pass just once.”

Neville a big fan of Pochettino

Pochettino has plenty of experience managing in the Premier League. An 18-month period with Saints was followed by more than five years at the Spurs helm.

He led the north Londoners to the 2018-2019 Champions League final where they were beaten 2-0 by Liverpool in Madrid.

However, things did not go so well the following campaign. And, with Tottenham 14th in the Premier League standings, he was sacked on November 19, 2019.

Chairman Daniel Levy stated that ‘extremely disappointing’ domestic results was the reason behind his decision.

The former Argentina defender failed to land a new post until joining PSG despite being linked with many clubs.

His stock remains high and it seemed as though Spurs might look to re-hire the former Espanyol manager before Antonio Conte arrived.

A number of pundits have praised Pochettino’s managerial ability. Last summer Gary Neville told Sky Sports that he had been United’s ‘outstanding choice for a number of years’.

It remains to be seen if the ex-centre back does end up at Old Trafford.

Ten Hag has been charged with the task of bringing back the good times. And he has certainly made a decent start, with the north-west giants sitting fifth in the standings prior to the World Cup break.

The Dutchman has stuck to his guns, reducing Cristiano Ronaldo’s participation to just a peripheral role.

He saw it as vital to the side’s development but has clearly angered the ex-Real Madrid ace.

Ronaldo likely to leave United

Ten Hag’s stance prompted Ronaldo to vent his spleen in a recent interview with Piers Morgan.

His accusation that Manchester United have betrayed him and want him out has likely sounded the death knell on his future at the club.

Ten Hag’s own United career may well hinge on whether the decision to jettison one of the greatest ever footballers pays off.

If results do tail off after the World Cup, then there is still a chance that Pochettino might get his wish.

READ MORE: Man Utd put Cristiano Ronaldo in his place with two-pronged punishment, as second stint turns ugly

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