Saturday 16 December 2017

Tottenham Hotspur ready to move for Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton have gained many admirers during the campaign
Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton have gained many admirers during the campaign

Jason Burt

Tottenham Hotspur will make one final check to see whether Carlo Ancelotti is interested in becoming their new manager before making their move for Southampton’s Mauricio Pochettino next week.

The Spurs board decided on Friday to approach Southampton to speak to Pochettino. Their only alternative would be if Ancelotti leaves Real Madrid following Saturday’s Champions League final but that does not appear likely.

The attraction of returning to London would interest Ancelotti but his wage demands are likely to be prohibitive. The Italian, nevertheless, has a good relationship with Spurs’ director of football, Franco Baldini.

Pochettino has been Tottenham’s first choice since the club decided not to take up the 12-month option on Tim Sherwood’s contract.

Spurs have spoken to Rafael Benitez’s representatives in the knowledge that the Napoli coach would like to return to England but there has been no contact for more than two weeks.

Similarly, Spurs are adamant that they have had no dealings with Ajax over coach Frank de Boer – despite his claims of an approach in April – since they inquired about him at the end of November when it became apparent Andre Villas-Boas might be sacked.

Pochettino, 42, is the kind of dynamic training-ground coach Spurs want and a crucial factor in their interest in him is the hope that he will be able to get the best out of the foreign players, notably fellow Argentine Erik Lamela, who were acquired last summer. Spurs would have to pay compensation of £2 million for Pochettino and would insist that he speaks English to the media. Despite continuing to use a translator, Pochettino does speak good English.

Southampton remain hopeful that Pochettino, who has a year left on his deal, will sign a new contract.

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