Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino could be tempted by Real Madrid as pressure grows on Los Blancos manager Julen Lopetegui. Pochettino had been considered as a replacement for Zinedine Zidane, but Real Madrid ultimately hired Lopetegui in June after missing out on their prefered managerial targets.
Real Madrid have struggled in La Liga this term and suffered their third loss of the season on Saturday against Levante. Los Blancos have failed to replace Cristiano Ronaldo and are now feeling the effects of selling their star player.
Pochettino signed a new Tottenham contract in May 2018. The new deal ties him to Tottenham until 2023. Despite the five-year contract, there is a real fear that Pochettino could walk away from the club and take over Real Madrid.
According to Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, the manager may be far more tempted to join Real Madrid than he was in the spring. Balague ghostwrote Pochettino’s autobiography and knows the manager better than many journalists that cover Tottenham.
Balague spoke to BBC Sport about Pochettino and the possibility of him heading to Madrid.
“The fans have been remarkably stoic towards Lopetegui, probably because they understand his predicament. Not so with club president Florentino Perez,” Balague said.
“It probably does not help that everyone knows Lopetegui was very far from being Perez’s first-choice replacement once Zidane left.
“Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri, Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann and even former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte were contacted before Perez plumped for Lopetegui – for the simple reason that all the others turned him down or were not allowed to leave or both.
“Perez is not exactly going out of his way to defend Lopetegui and the general feeling is that the coach is a dead man walking, with the only real issue being when rather than if he will get his marching orders.”
While Pochettino has emerged as a possible candidate, it was revealed over the weekend that Antonio Conte had already agreed to become Real Madrid’s new coach. Conte is said to be merely waiting for the axe to come down on Lopetegui.
Of the managers eyed by Perez, only Conte is currently unattached. In the case of Massimiliano Allegri, he is enjoying his best Juventus side yet. Julian Nagelsmann is set to join RB Leipzig next summer and will coach Hoffenheim for the remainder of the season.
Pochettino currently earns £8.5 million per season at Tottenham. Real Madrid would have to play a considerable amount of compensation to land the Argentine manager. Many football insiders believe it isn’t a matter of ‘if’ Pochettino will manage Real Madrid, but ‘when’.
Is Mauricio Pochettino Real Madrid bound?