Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy caught a fair few off guard on Tuesday evening when he sacked long serving manager Mauricio Pochettino after a poor start to the season. Although ‘Poch’, as he is affectionately known, has overseen an appalling return of just 25 points in the last 24 league games there is nobody in their right mind who would question what a good job he has done in North London.
Whilst the good will messages pour in for the Argentine, it’s probably fair to say Pochettino won’t be too concerned about what the future holds because it’s guaranteed he’ll be on plenty of managerial shortlists in the coming weeks and months.
The only question that needs answering is where he’ll end up next.
Pochettino is already familiar with the Spanish game after time with Espanyol as both a player and manager and it’s a long-standing rumour that Real would welcome him to the Bernabeu if the opportunity presented itself. Zinedine Zidane is currently heading up the Spanish giants but it’s hardly been plain sailing with several questionable performances highlighting the fact they’re not the side they were a few years ago.
It’s likely that the Madrid hierarchy will stick with the man who lead them to three Champions League wins provided they run the title close in La Liga, which is likely given no side can put a string of wins together at the moment. If, however, the chop comes for Zidane – or he walks away – then the former Argentinian defender will be a shoo-in.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is currently moving things along adequately, if not amazingly, at Old Trafford but they’re hardly blowing teams away and they look a million miles off challenging for the title with the top four a stretching objective in itself. When Pochettino’s replacement, Jose Mourinho, left United last December it was Poch who was heavily linked with the vacancy but Solskjaer came in as caretaker and oversaw such a run that he was offered the permanent role.
United invested heavily in the summer as they splashed out a record fee on Harry Maguire and made further acquisitions in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James; with that outlay comes expectation and, although, the board might settle for Europa League football next season if things slip too far then Poch will quickly be on top of Ed Woodward’s list.
A move to the Bundesliga – specifically with Champions Bayern – is perhaps the most likely for Poch at this time. Ironically, if that does happen, he’ll be replacing a man who piled pressure on him with a humiliating 7-2 Champions League score line. Former Croatian international Niko Kovac had been in charge at the Allianz Arena since April 2018 until being relieved of his duties earlier this month.
The side are currently being manager after by interim coach Hansi Flick, who was confirmed until the end of December. Still, Poch’s availability may well force Bayern to put an offer on the table.
If Pochettino does end up at Bayern he’ll be almost guaranteed to add silverware to his managerial CV – something that has been lacking at Spurs.
That brings a different type of pressure and winning alone isn’t enough to keep you in the job. Just ask Kovac who won the league and cup double just last season.
Still, it is worth remembering that Tottenham made a run to Champions League final last season and that is exactly the kind of presence that Bayern is lacking since 2013. So, just like betting on a stud in the Kentucky Derby horse race, they might take a gamble in the Argentinian ability to go all the way.
There you have it, three possible high-profile positions that Pochettino could step into in the coming months and regardless of where he ends up next, it won’t be a shock to see him take a step up from Tottenham Hostpur.