The shock departure of Zinedine Zidane as Real Madrid coach means that one of the most coveted jobs in world football is now vacant – and speculation in England has linked Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino with the role.
The former Espanyol and Southampton boss, who guided Spurs to Champions League qualification for a third successive campaign in 2017/18, recently agreed a new five-year contract with the north London club, who are set to move into their new stadium next season.
However, the opportunity to take on a club for whom he could realistically mount a sustained title challenge in 2018/19 – he is yet to win a domestic league title in his managerial career – may prove a factor, as well as the challenge of making history by guiding Real to a fourth successive Champions League crown.
But Pochettino’s new contract does not have a release which means that if Real want their man, they’re going to have to pay a premium for the Argentine, who joined Tottenham in May 2014.
Other men linked to the Real role include Jurgen Klopp, beaten finalist with Liverpool against Real in Kiev and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte who, despite speculation to the contrary, is still in place at Stamford Bridge. Arsene Wenger is also fancied by bookmakers in England as a short-term fix following his departure from Arsenal.
Ironically, the exit of Zidane potentially strengthens Madrid’s hand when it comes to keeping two-goal Champions League Final hero Gareth Bale.
However, the future of Cristiano Ronaldo remains unclear, with an announcement from the five-times World Player of the Year due in the next few days.