Tottenham: Why a sensational Antonio Conte-Mauricio Pochettino job swap should not be entirely ruled out

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 (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)
(Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I)

A rare job swap between Tottenham's Antonio Conte and Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino should not be entirely discounted.

While Conte occasionally appears almost embarrassed to manage Spurs, like a man who is forever hinting he could do better than his partner, Pochettino and Spurs feel like an estranged couple who have both come to realise the grass is not necessarily greener.

After being overlooked for the Manchester United job again, Pochettino is expected to be sacked by PSG, having guided them to the Ligue 1 title but, more importantly, presided over their latest humiliation in the Champions League - with Conte rumoured to be interested in the job.

Conte has hinted he could walk away from Spurs at the end of the season, saying in March he would "stop" if the club does not share his "vision" for the future, and there is a sense that he is unconvinced the club can build a team to challenge for the League title next season. The Italian has made clear that he is more ambitious than another scrap for the top four.

That said, Conte, who is under contract until the end of next term, is renowned for pressuring his employers both openly and through the media, and his apparent interest in Pochettino's job may be little more than another attempt to push Spurs into backing him in the summer.

Reports claim that Antonio Conte could be interested in succeeding Mauricio Pochettino at PSG (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)
Reports claim that Antonio Conte could be interested in succeeding Mauricio Pochettino at PSG (Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

While there are doubts over whether Conte is really the right profile for Spurs, he is also a questionable fit for PSG (for one thing, his Champions League record is poor), although clearly their spending power and free run at the title would appeal to the 52-year-old.

Pochettino, by contrast, was perfect for Spurs and has said he could return to the club, but sources close to the Argentine are unsure if this summer would be the right time.

Spurs are still in the midst of the "painful rebuild" first called for by Pochettino in 2018, while the prospect of another imminent battle between Harry Kane and the club over his future may not appeal.

And it is unclear whether Pochettiono and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy are both ready to swallow their pride and get back together so soon, with the club's interest in bringing back the 50-year-old last summer led by former head of recruitment Steve Hitchen.

Pochettino would also return to a new dynamic, with managing director Fabio Paratici now in control of the football side of the club, although the head coach is used to working with recruitment chiefs and has remained in touch with Levy, who is still a hands-on chairman.

Spurs still hope to finish in the top four and persuade Conte (and Kane) that they can kick on next season, while PSG are reported to have made Zinedine Zidane their top target to replace Pochettino.

A sensational swap would therefore need several pieces to fall into place, so remains an unlikely, if highly intriguing, prospect.

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