Manchester United have been handed a potentially significant blow in their pursuit of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s successor.
Current Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as the leading candidate to replace the Norwegian in the Old Trafford dugout, but prising him away from the Ligue 1 leaders will be a tricky task.
According to ESPN’s Rob Dawson, sources are stating that United have seen their initial approaches rebuffed by the PSG hierarchy, although he remains their No. target.
The report states that: “Manchester United have had an initial enquiry about the immediate availability of Mauricio Pochettino knocked back by Paris Saint-Germain, sources have told ESPN.
“United have made Pochettino their top target as their next permanent manager following the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday.
“The club are open to appointing Pochettino now if a deal can be struck, but intermediaries tasked with assessing the 49-year-old’s situation at PSG have reported back that the French side are, for now, unwilling to talk.”
News that initial efforts to secure Pochettino’s services have failed will leave large sections of United’s supporters fuming, given his outstanding credentials.
The Argentine tactician transformed Tottenham Hotspur from perennial underachievers to Champions League regulars during his five-and-a-half-year spell in north London, even guiding them to a European cup final. That was before claiming his first piece of silverware via a French Cup success last term after moving to France.
Nevertheless, it’s believed that the 49-year-old is currently unhappy in Paris, with Dawson’s latest revelation claiming Pochettino would be keen on the United vacancy but is under contract until 2023 after signing an extension in the summer.
As a result, the 20-time English champions are likely to hire an interim manager until the summer before returning for the South American once again.
Several candidates have been outlined for the temporary position in the red half of Manchester, but former Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde appears to be at the front of the queue at this moment in time.
It remains to be seen who takes over the reins in the short and long-term as the Glazers and co. decide what’s best for United’s future, and this latest setback will only add to the hierarchy’s frustration as their number one choice for the role goes begging.
What will add to the worrying nature of the situation is that United didn’t decipher the former Spurs boss’ availability before getting rid of Solskjaer at the start of the week. Concerning for the Old Trafford faithful is the alarming lack of planning despite their quick downfall this season.
This has the potential to turn into a rather messy situation, one the club could deal without given rising fan tension and protest this term.
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