Nine wins in 25. This is a tally you would expect from a team in the lower half of the Premier League table, not Manchester United.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is lucky that a top four place is only six points away, but United’s position is precarious. Defeat away to Chelsea next weekend would be a hammer blow.
Solskjaer’s position may not be as secure as he might like, and Mauricio Pochettino’s availability after his November exit from Tottenham looms large.
The MEN reported in December that Pochettino wants the United job.
Some predict a change of manager in the summer is just a formality, and the Argentine will replace Solskjaer.
Here is a look at five circumstantial and speculative reasons to suggest ‘Poch In’ and ‘Ole Out’ will happen…
With United’s form inconsistent, pundits including Jamie Carragher have urged the club to look at Pochettino already. [Mail]
One reason no deal has taken place is a reported clause factored into the termination of his Tottenham contract by chairman Daniel Levy.
The Sunday Express report Pochettino must pay back £12.5 million to Tottenham if he takes another Premier League job before the end of the season.
It would likely be his next employer who would pay the money on the manager’s behalf, so it makes sense for United to simply wait until the summer, and save £12.5 million.
United did not want to sign Bruno Fernandes in the summer. Suddenly they did in January, and got him.
What changed? Could it be the appointment of Pochettino, a manager who tried to sign him for Tottenham last summer? [Mail]
If you really want to drill down on suggestions Pochettino is already driving United’s transfer policy, look no further than new signing Nathan Bishop, a player once on trial at Pochettino’s Tottenham.
Mutual Martial admiration
Amid concerns over Anthony Martial’s form this week, old reports were dug by national newspapers over how much United owner Joel Glazer loves the player.
As ESPN report, Martial is Glazer’s favourite player, and for this reason he will refuse to sell him.
So if Solskjaer can’t get the best out of Martial, it makes sense to appoint a manager with a proven track record of improving players, who has a pre-existing admiration for the Frenchman.
Appointing Pochettino could be a last throw of the dice for United to try and help Martial reach his potential.
Fear of missing out
Pochettino is unlikely to stay out of work for long. This could be United’s only chance to get him.
It is being reported by The Telegraph that Atletico Madrid are considering him as a back up for Diego Simeone, but note that Pochettino prefers a Premier League return.
More closer, United should not be complacent about a move from City.
Pep Guardiola is having his worst season as City boss and he has already stayed longer with them than he has in any previous job.
It would not be a surprise to see him walk away, and then City go for Pochettino. This is not a scenario United should want to risk happening.
The Sir Alex factor
It’s uncertain how much of a say Sir Alex Ferguson has in United’s strategy, but the club would be foolish to ignore him, despite his infamously poor David Moyes recommendation.
Pochettino and Ferguson have struck up a relationship in recent years, with the Argentine saying last year via Sky Sports: “We had a very nice lunch in London [in 2016], and since then we have kept a good relationship. We are football people.”
The Mail reported last year that Pochettino is Ferguson’s preferred choice as manager.
Ferguson still goes to every United game, and will be aware of this team’s clear limitations under Solskjaer. If he is making recommendations for United to finally get Pochettino, the board may listen.
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