Manchester United have been given a boost in their hopes of bringing Mauricio Pochettino to Old Trafford as their next permanent manager, with Paris Saint-Germain’s continuing to court former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.
United will be after a new permanent boss in the summer, when Ralf Rangnick’s interim tenure comes to an end, with former Spurs boss Pochettino, Ajax’s Erik ten Hag and Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers among the leading contenders.
Former France midfielder Zidane has long been linked with a move to PSG, and such a switch could clear the way for Pochettino to return to the Premier League in the summer.
There have been a few teething problems in the French club’s pursuit of Zidane, with sporting director Leonardo thought to be an obstacle, but it looks as though the club are meeting the demands of their prospective new manager.
According to FootMercato (via Get French Football News ), Zidane’s attitude towards Leonardo has been considered a potential stumbling block.
However, PSG’s owners are reportedly prepared to do whatever it takes to bring in the multiple Champions League winning coach, even if that means parting ways with the sporting director in order to get their man.
FootMercato reports that the Ligue 1 leaders have begun approaching other sporting directors, including Spurs’ Fabio Paratici, as a managerial change remains a possibility.
Back in November, Leonardo insisted the club had no plans to ditch Pochettino, but the summer could end up heralding a double change with both men leaving the Parc des Princes.
“We do not want Pochettino to leave,” Leonardo told AFP after reports of contract between PSG and Zidane.
“He never asked to leave and no club contacted us in relation to him.
“We have lots of respect for Zinedine Zidane, for what he did as a player and coach, but I can affirm very clearly that there was no contact or meeting with him.
“It is ridiculous to imagine that a meeting with Zidane could have taken place in a big hotel, in Paris, in front of the world.”
Zidane left Real Madrid at the end of the 2020-21 season, and has not rushed back into management.
The 49-year-old was also linked with the Old Trafford job after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal in November, but United instead opted to put Rangnick in temporary charge until the end of the season before making a decision on their next permanent appointment.
Rangnick himself is expected to step into a consultancy role when his tenure as interim manager comes to an end, and Pochettino’s Premier League pedigree could yet win him the job.
The Argentine only joined PSG midway through last season, missing out on the Ligue 1 title by a single point, but the French club are on track to reclaim their title with a 10-point lead over second-place Marseille.