Real Madrid are reportedly targeting Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino, which means Manchester United may have competition.
There was a period in time, when Pochettino probably should have been the Man Utd manager, with Sir Alex Ferguson just one of a number of supporters within Old Trafford.
That moment has now passed though, and United must look elsewhere.
Ralf Rangnick and new Chief Executive Officer Richard Arnold are reportedly interested in Ajax manager Erik ten Hag, while the players are believed to be firmly in the Pochettino camp.
United want a philosophy and trophies to match, which is why ten Hag could and should be the man to lead United back to the top in the Premier League and in Europe.
Ten Hag could lead a new ‘project’ but unlike former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has a background of excellence, which suggests he has a far better chance of delivering.
Since taking over as Ajax manager in 2017 he has led the Dutch side to two Eredivisie titles, two Dutch cups and the Dutch Super Cup.
Pochettino blamed a lack of funds for not taking Spurs to the next level, but he left the North London side without winning a trophy.
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It would be a great surprise if he didn’t lead PSG to the Ligue 1 title this campaign, and add that trophy to the Coupe de France, and Trophee des Champions he’s won there.
The Argentine does know that he will be judged on how his side performs in the Champions League, and they go into the second leg of their last 16 match against Real Madrid in Spain with a 1-0 lead.
Pochettino has the Premier League managerial experience under his belt, but what do Man Utd supporters want? Top four qualification or a genuine title charge?
There’s a cultural reset that needs to kick-in alongside Rangnick, and while there’s no guarantees with either, if United let Ten Hag go, then they will lose someone who plays attractive football, wins trophies, promotes youth, has seen several star players leave, but has still recruited well, and maintained the highest of standards.
He would also be given a far bigger budget at Old Trafford, and has experience working as a sporting director at Utrecht, which would help alongside Rangnick.
I think that Pochettino is capable of a few of those things, but not all, which is why the Dutchman, for me, has the edge.
Philosophy is so important to a new United and there’s plenty of work to be done behind the scenes to ensure United get back to where they should be.
The concern with Pochettino is that he’ll eventually secure top four but won’t take United to that next step. That might satisfy the owners, but it wouldn’t satisfy the supporters.
Arnold is on the brink of making his first big decision since replacing Ed Woodward. We hope that he makes the right one.
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