HE is most world’s wanted manager, with interest from the two most storied clubs on the planet, Manchester United and Real Madrid.
And yet the smart money is on Mauricio Pochettino staying put at Tottenham next season, overachieving on a relative shoestring, grappling with the same old problems.
Getty Images – Getty7 Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with taking the reins at Manchester United and Real Madrid
United won this match because they have spent lavishly — not least on a world-class midfielder, Paul Pogba, and a world-class keeper, David De Gea.
For all Pochettino’s talents, the upkeep on this Spurs squad has been neglected and the cracks are beginning to show.
They ended this match without a specialist central midfielder after Moussa Sissoko limped off before half-time and Harry Winks was withdrawn late on.
Harry Kane hobbled away at the final whistle with an ankle injury and Spurs have no replacement of anywhere near the class as the England skipper.
AFP or licensors7 Daniel Levy is likely to rebuff any approach from the Red Devils for Pochettino
Reuters7 Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's side beat Spurs 1-0 at Wembley in an end-to-end affair
Son Heung-min was only even here because Pochettino had begged the South Korean FA to give him special dispensation to miss the opening couple of games of the Asia Cup in Dubai, where he has now headed.
Tottenham’s relative financial constraints mean that Pochettino is a beggar not a chooser.
Spurs would have beaten United had it not been for De Gea — part keeper, part illusionist — making 11 saves, many of them good and one which defied belief.
Yet Tottenham’s slim titles hopes are over after a sixth league defeat and it will be difficult to battle for cups with a squad thinning by the day.
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Pochettino remains United’s No 1 choice to become Jose Mourinho’s permanent successor but the Argentine is likely to be frustrated on two fronts.
First, the fact that Daniel Levy is determined to stick his fingers in his ears and ignore the noises coming out of Old Trafford, knowing his gifted manager will still have four years left on his contract.
As a negotiator, United’s Ed Woodward is not in the same league as Levy.
Then there is the gathering momentum of this extraordinary Ole Gunnar Solskjaer love-in — United’s supporters revelling in a passionate reunion with an old flame they never stopped pining for.
They’ve sung about the Norwegian at every match for all the years he’d been away – ‘oh what a night, late in May in 1999' and ‘Alan Shearer was f*****g dearer, please don’t take my Solskjaer away’.
And Solskjaer is milking their affections for all they are worth.
He is determined to land the full-time job and Sir Alex Ferguson, whose clout should never be underestimated, is doing nothing to discourage it.
All in all, it looks increasingly as though Pochettino will not head to United.
AP:Associated Press7 Tottenham now trail Premier League leaders Liverpool by nine points following the loss against United