Tottenham Hotspur have held talks with Mauricio Pochettino over a return to the club, football.london understands.
The Argentine left north London 18 months ago and after a spell out of the game during the pandemic signed a short-term 18-month deal with his former French side PSG.
At the Ligue 1 side, Pochettino has won two domestic trophies to break his duck as a manager but was pipped at the post to the league title by Lille this weekend.
PSG reached the Champions League semi-finals this season, sweeping aside Barcelona and Bayern Munich under Pochettino but were beaten by Manchester City.
However, PSG is a very different club to the Argentine’s previous experiences of management and it is believed that the politics behind the scenes have proved challenging for a man who essentially just wants to coach players.
football.london understands that not only have Spurs spoken to Pochettino about a return to the club but the 49-year-old would be interested in coming back to N17.
Pochettino has made no secret of his desire to return to Tottenham to fulfil ‘unfinished business’ at the club but few expected his return to potentially be this soon.
The Argentine revolutionised Spurs during his five-and-a-half years at the club, with three consecutive top three finishes, four Champions League qualifications, finally overhauling Arsenal after 22 years in the Premier League and taking the club to a historic first Champions League final.
Pochettino also helped transform Tottenham behind the scenes with their state of the art sports science work and made them a force again in the Premier League with two title challenges.
It was that Champions League final defeat that hit Pochettino hard and he was emotionally shattered in the aftermath of that sliding doors moment, visibly a different man during the club’s pre-season tour to Asia later that summer.
However, he is now believed to be refreshed after almost a year out of the game and a very different experience of football management at PSG.
Now it is down to Tottenham to negotiate with the French giants to bring Pochettino back to north London and release him from the final year of his contract.
The two clubs have a strong relationship and French media have reported that PSG had already been looking for a replacement, although some have suggested that PSG are keen to keep the Argentine and want to allow him to have a campaign with a full pre-season under his belt with the players.
The return of Pochettino would go a long way to rebuilding the fractured relationship with the club’s fans for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Levy and Pochettino grew to be close during the Argentine’s era at the club and no manager before or since enjoyed that relationship with the chairman.
Neither are believed to have held any animosity towards each other since their parting of the ways and Pochettino and Spurs are both in a different place for different reasons since that moment in 2019.
The return of Pochettino could also help Spurs as they seek to keep Harry Kane at the club, amid speculation surrounding the striker’s future. The England captain became a star under the Argentine and has a strong bond with him.
If Tottenham cannot wrestle Pochettino away from PSG, football.london understands that Ajax boss Erik ten Hag remains a strong contender for the role and is believed to be interested in the post, despite the title-winning Dutch giants recently taking up an option to extend his contract by a year.
The departure of Antonio Conte, a very different manager to both Pochettino and Ten Hag, from Inter Milan and suddenly becoming a free agent will also have caught Tottenham’s eye, although the Italian needs money to build his sides, something the north London outfit will struggle to find this summer unless they can finally secure a naming rights deal for their stadium.
However, it is the return of Pochettino, popular with fans and everyone within the club, that would really galvanise everyone around the club again.
Tottenham’s frame of reference for their new manager search has used Pochettino as its reference as they searched for an attack-minded possession-based coach, who will utilise the cutting edge techniques at the club and also play football in ‘The Tottenham Way’.
That man might just be available again. It’s now over to Daniel Levy.
Source by Football London