Manchester United in 'regular contact' with Mauricio Pochettino over permanent job
Ralf Rangnick is managing Manchester United as best he can right now, with an unbalanced squad and no investment this month.
The interim nature of his role means United are in a holding pattern until the summer, with the club’s main task to hire a new manager once the season is over.
Work is ongoing behind the scenes to make this happen. One of the main candidates for the job is PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino.
French newspaper Le Parisien reports this week that Manchester United are in regular contact with Pochettino and have been since November.
Pochettino was strongly linked with the United job at the time, but leaving PSG mid-season of his own accord would have been complicated, and it would also have meant giving up an inevitable first Ligue 1 title, with his side clear at the top.
If he does leave to take on the United job, as the MEN have claimed he is, then this switch will come in the summer.
It makes sense for United to stay in contact, to check he has not changed his mind, and also to update him on the club’s own perspective. If United were all in on Pochettino, conversations may go even further, towards potential transfer strategies.
PSG have Zinedine Zidane lined up as a potential successor, and timing-wise this ties in, with the 1998 World Cup winner expressing a desire to spend a full year out of football after quitting Real Madrid.
Ralf Rangnick is United’s interim boss until the end of the season, and will become a club consultant for the following two years. It’s unclear who from United has been in touch with Pochettino, but presumably it has not been Rangnick.
Ten Hag another top candidate
Despite United maintaining contact with Pochettino, the job is not a one-horse race. Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag was reported by The Times to be United’s top choice just last week.
Ten Hag’s intentions remain more mysterious, whether he wants to leave Ajax at all, and whether he sees United as a good fit.
It’s unclear whether United have had any contact with Ten Hag, like there reportedly has been with Mauricio Pochettino. although you would think that United have privately reached out to express interest.
United will also have options beyond just two managers. By next summer the club will have had months to prepare, and there should be a quite extensive shortlist of options, even if there is a clear first and second choice.
It is crucial United get the decision right, and both Pochettino and Ten Hag are strong options. The Ajax man is a more exciting appointment, but Pochettino’s former Premier League experience has to count for a lot too.
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