Mauricio Pochettino is interested in replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as Manchester United manager.
Paris Saint-Germain head coach Pochettino is Manchester United’s first choice to take over permanently from Solskjaer, who was sacked on Sunday, and Sky Sports News has been told the former Tottenham boss would be interested in the managerial position at Old Trafford.
However, Pochettino’s immediate focus is on PSG’s next match against Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Pochettino, who took over at PSG on an initial 18-month deal in January, is contracted to the Ligue 1 club until the summer of 2023 after the option of an extra year was activated.
Sky Sports pundit and former United defender Gary Neville is confident Pochettino would leave PSG for Old Trafford if given the opportunity.
“I think Mauricio Pochettino – although he’d never say it – would leave to come to Man Utd on a five-year deal tomorrow,” Neville told Sky Sports,
“He’d look at that group of players, he’d look at the club and he’d realise he’d probably be able to achieve more than he wants at Manchester United in terms of a project.
“At PSG you are on a season by season, ‘you’ve got to win the Champions League or you’re out’, type of model.
“I don’t think that suits Pochettino. I think he would absolutely come to Manchester United on a five-year deal, with backing behind him.”
Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag is understood to be United’s second choice for the role of Solskjaer’s long-term successor.
Sky Sports News has been told Ten Hag would “100 per cent be interested” in the role. Like Pochettino, Ten Hag will also have one year remaining on his contract next summer.
Manchester United have already announced their intention to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season, with Solskjaer’s former assistant Michael Carrick placed in temporary charge of the side.
United next face Villarreal in a crucial Champions League match on Tuesday before returning to domestic action away at Premier League leaders Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
Solskjaer says he is “honoured and privileged” to have managed Manchester United but accepts he paid the price for not being able to “take the next step”.
Speaking for the first time since his dismissal, Solskjaer told United’s website: “First of all, I want to thank the board and the owners for giving me the opportunity because it’s not for everyone and I’ve had the opportunity.
“I’m so honored and privileged to have been trusted to take the club forward, and I really hope that I leave it in a better state than when I came.
“It’s one of those things you dream of in your life. When you’ve been a player, when you’ve been a reserve-team coach, the next job then, the only dream and the only thing you haven’t done is to manage the club, and I have now.
“It’s been a ball, it’s been absolutely enjoyable from the first to the last minute, so I have to thank all the players because since I came in, they’re top lads, top people. Some have come, some have gone, but all of them, they’ve been such an enjoyable bunch to work with.
“The board and the owners have backed me in [terms of] bringing good people in, good players in and I think, or I know, I leave this club with a better squad. I think everyone knows I’ve given everything for this club. This club means everything to me.
“I’ve made great friends, I’ve reconnected with some great friends, new staff coming in I’ve become really good friends with. The other staff that was here when I was there, we’re good friends and we have connected and that’s what it’s about at a club like this.
“With the fans, they have been amazing. From day one at Cardiff until the last one now. [They’ve been] top, and we’ll see each other again.”
Gary Neville has admitted Solskjaer’s sacking had become an inevitability after Manchester United’s collapse in form reached a new low in their 4-1 defeat at Watford.
Neville has refused to call for Solskjaer’s dismissal despite a series of devastating results for United, but has acknowledged that the club ultimately had no choice but to act.
“I always say that managers deserve two or three years in the job,” Neville told Sky Sports, “Ole cannot complain. He has been given three years. He has been backed in the transfer market. David Moyes was given eight months and kicked out.
“I don’t think Ole can complain about the time that he has been given and the money that he has been afforded. I don’t think he can complain about the players delivered to him.
“I do think he will be massively disappointed about the fact that he has not been able to deliver performances this season. He expected more. We all expected more.
“Only he and the players can understand what has gone wrong in these last few months – and we might never get to the bottom of it.”