Manchester United still consider Mauricio Pochettino to be a long-term managerial candidate, despite having only just handed Jose Mourinho a contract extension last week, according to Manchester Evening News.
The Argentine has long been admired by the United hierarchy, and he is seen as the perfect person to eventually succeed the Portuguese boss.
Since moving from Southampton to Tottenham in 2014, the 45-year old has gone from strength to strength, and his sides’ dismantling of United at Wembley in midweek will only have strengthened the Red Devils’ belief that he is the man for the job.
There is certainly no desire to replace Mourinho sooner rather than later, which is evident in how soon the club opted to extend the former Chelsea manager’s current deal, but Pochettino is quite clearer earmarked for the future.
Not only does the Argentine carry a certain pedigree that would fit in well with United, he also represents a positive step tactically.
Previous managers in Louis van Gaal and David Moyes did not represent the traditional “Manchester United style” that was perfected by Sir Alex Ferguson, combining results with slick and stylish football.
Even Mourinho is more strictly defensive in his approach, although not to a detrimental level.
However, with Mourinho only having been given a 12 month extension, instead of the expected two years, United have given themselves breathing room to reconsider their options should Pochettino become more available.
Tottenham will be in no rush to rid themselves of the Argentine, and he certainly won’t walk away with the club moving to a new stadium next season, although top clubs could come calling in the summer, with Real Madrid potentially looking for a new rebuild.
Should Pochettino make a move to Real as early as this summer, it is unlikely to cause much distress at Old Trafford though.
Given the average lifespan of a manager at the Bernabeu, he could be back on the market by the time Mourinho’s contract expires in 2020.
Pochettino has earned enough admirers at Old Trafford – Ferguson included – to make him the standout candidate when they next look to recruit a manager, but when that could be is currently unknown.