Spurs move could cost Pochettino £2m
Mauricio Pochettino faces a £2m bill if he is to replace Tim Sherwood as head coach at Tottenham Hotspur, thanks to an extraordinary clause in his Southampton contract.
Sherwood was sacked by Daniel Levy at a meeting on Tuesday morning, with the Tottenham chairman deeming his outspoken comments and challenges to the club unacceptable.
Southampton manager Pochettino is the favourite to succeed Sherwood. But the Argentine will have to personally pay Southampton the compensation bill to move to White Hart Lane after agreeing to a unique clause in his St Mary’s deal.
Former executive chairman Nicola Cortese drew up the contract that states Pochettino has to personally pay the outstanding amount if he breaks his Southampton agreement early.
Pochettino has 12 months to run on his Saints contract that is worth £2m a year.
The 42-year-old could try to get round being hit in the pocket by demanding a signing on fee of the same size to take over at Spurs, but Levy is a famously tough negotiator and may not be happy with that arrangement.
Pochettino is understood to be keen to talk to Levy about the Tottenham job, with fears mounting that Southampton will be forced to sell their best players this summer.
England duo Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana are already subject to bids from Manchester United and Liverpool, and there is concern that Rickie Lambert, Morgan Schneiderlin, Jay Rodriguez, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers could follow them out of the door.
Tottenham are expected to approach Southampton over Pochettino in the coming days and have also made a check on the contract situation of Frank de Boer at Ajax.
The club are aiming to make an appointment before the World Cup. Carlo Ancelotti is a more ambitious target and Spurs may wait to see whether or not Real Madrid win the Champions League and the Italian keeps his current job.
Levy delayed delivering the news of his sacking to Sherwood until after Ledley King’s testimonial on Monday night, during which a section of Spurs fans booed Sherwood’s name.
Sherwood chalked up a 59 per cent Premier League win record in his five months in charge at Tottenham after taking over from Andre Villas-Boas in December.
But he could not improve results or performances in big games and hit out at his players on numerous occasions.
The outspoken nature of Sherwood angered Spurs chiefs, who also cringed at him throwing his infamous gilet on the ground and inviting a supporter into the dugout during the final game of the season against Aston Villa.
There had been suggestions that Sherwood would be offered his old role as technical coordinator back, but Levy instead used a clause in the 45-year-old’s contract to make a clean break and avoid any more clashes.
In a statement, Levy said: “We appointed Tim mid-season as someone who knew both the players and the Club.
“We agreed an 18-month contract with a break clause at the end of the season and we have now exercised that option.
“Since appointing Tim as Assistant First Team Coach in 2008 and then as Technical Coordinator in 2010 and Head of Football Development in 2012, we have been supportive of him during football management changes throughout that period.
"On behalf of the Club, I should like to state our thanks for all his efforts during his years with us. We wish him great success in his managerial career.
“Moving forward, now the season is over, we shall embark on the process of finding a new Head Coach.
"We have a talented squad and exciting young players coming through. We need to build on this season, develop our potential and inspire the kind of performances that we associate with our great Club.”
Sherwood has made it clear he wants to stay in management and may become a target for Championship semi-final play-off losers Brighton, who are looking for a new head coach after the resignation of Óscar García.