MARTIN SAMUEL: Mauricio Pochettino dances around his intentions with the skill of a politician… Manchester United may prise him from PSG but if he stays until the summer it could be win-win

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  • PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino is Manchester United’s No. 1 managerial target
  • He led his side against United’s rivals City in a 2-1 defeat on Wednesday night.
  • Pochettino is adept at not shutting down speculation while respecting
  • He may be tempted to go for Champions League glory with PSG this season

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Mauricio Pochettino loves sports; And not just the kind that pitted him against Manchester City.

It was an amazing encounter on Wednesday night as it was basically a dead rubber when it became clear how easily RB Leipzig were winning in Bruges, but Pochettino has been showcasing his most skillful strategies throughout the week. Sir Alex Ferguson always said that the match starts at the press conference the day before kick-off, and of course Pochettino’s talks.


He was at it again during a casual time trip to Manchester. Not completely weaning himself out of the situation at Old Trafford is doing enough to make the impression that he finds the speculation tedious, but not so much that he packs up and walks away.

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Mauricio Pochettino is Manchester United’s No. 1 target to become permanent manager

Argentina lead their PSG side against Pep Guardiola's men at the Etihad on Wednesday night

Argentina lead their PSG side against Pep Guardiola’s men at the Etihad on Wednesday night

Pochettino is too smart for this. It’s smart to issue this type of statement that kills the story and leaves potential suitors behind. When, ahead of the 2019 Champions League final, Jurgen Klopp was asked about the stories linking him to Juventus in Italy, he said a word.

Bull ***. And then, if one was still unsure of the meaning of such an exclamation, he offered a sentence of further explanation. He said, ‘Nothing is true about it, I will not leave Liverpool. And that was it. There was no need for follow-up questions as it would be an insult to Klopp’s intelligence when he was so clear as to press further.

Pochettino is not like that. He spent time with Ajax in the middle of Tottenham’s Champions League semi-finals and spoke in riddles about his future in the final, all the while expressing frustration that the topic kept coming up.

And, on Tuesday, when asked about ties with the vacancy at Manchester United, he again opted not to offer full clarity. He said, ‘Football is about today, not tomorrow. ‘You live in the present, it is not about living in the future. We are in a business where there are rumours. I completely understand what is happening. But what the other club is doing at that time is not my problem. I can’t talk about it because of my respect for my club and my respect for other clubs.

PSG beat Manchester City but Pochettino may be tempted to stay

PSG beat Manchester City but Pochettino may be tempted to stay

None of this is quite the same as calling BS on the whole process and pledging to fulfill the Paris Saint-Germain contract that expires in the summer of 2023. Many words would have been used in this, the respect would have been great, and the speculation would have ended. Instead it was reported on the day of the game with Manchester City that PSG – not Pochettino – had rejected an approach from Manchester United until at least the end of the season.

Meanwhile, it was also going round that Pochettino did not have the best of relations with PSG sporting director Leonardo. Where do these stories come from? Probably from the same source who reported over the weekend that Pochettino wanted to return to English football and would leave PSG for now if a deal could be struck between the clubs.

In public, Pochettino may cloud the issue, but it appears that someone in his circle has a pretty clear idea of ​​what he thinks and feels.

Of course, PSG’s rejection of United’s offer is completely predictable. Qatar Investment Authority is in the business of building a global sports empire built around prestige and glamour.

They host huge events such as the World Cup, the World Athletics Championships and now an annual Grand Prix; His football club deals in the biggest names – Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar. What is currently the eighth best team in England – currently on points level with Brighton – doesn’t have the image at all to steal their manager mid-season.

Kylian Mbappe scored for PSG but it wasn't enough to beat Manchester City on Wednesday

Kylian Mbappe scored for PSG but it wasn’t enough to beat Manchester City on Wednesday

There could be a way to get Pochettino out of Paris – certainly if Zinedine Zidane is his replacement, as it would be a QIA dream – but not until the Frenchman breaks his word about not joining the clubs mid-season Till then, have to wait. Heat, at least.

So, for now, we’re in familiar territory. Pochettino dances around his intentions, United sits in limbo, watching neutrals, eager to see how it plays out with his current employers. Daniel Levy would know this sentiment very well. The constant drizzle of uncertainty was undoubtedly a contributing factor to a final parting two years ago.

Tottenham’s problems have since turned Pochettino’s era into a rose-tinted glow, yet it did not end. The team was inconsistent and fading, and a political battle appeared to be raging behind the scenes. Levi undoubtedly tired of being played; And probably the owners of PSG too. Especially if it affects the team.

Despite City winning from behind, there were no signs of it on Wednesday night. In the first half, PSG effectively absorbed Manchester City’s pressure before Kylian Mbappe took the lead. In the end, the result was disappointing but the performance was not that of a team that had lost faith in its manager.

Argentina knows it has to do politics and dance in front of the cameras

Argentina knows it has to do politics and dance in front of the cameras

This week’s narrative suggested that PSG is as bisexual about Pochettino as it is about them; Still the club are 11 points clear in Ligue 1 after 14 games, and while Champions League group form has not been perfect, PSG have qualified with one game and their performances against Manchester City in two matches offered hope. Is.

Pochettino knows the European crown is PSG’s holy grail and is realistic about its long-term prospects if it can’t finish it. Some may consider this European campaign a victory for him under the circumstances.

Triumph, and he is a living legend – has fallen short and he can console himself with a splendid opportunity at Old Trafford, and employers are asking for far less, just a seat at the table again, really.

It’s not that simple – he might even leave a legend behind in what was arguably his last game at Tottenham – but whatever happens from here expect Pochettino to approach politics as carefully as he would any will be in the match.


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