Paris Saint-Germain could have a decision to make over head coach Mauricio Pochettino in the coming weeks with the Argentine now firmly a leading candidate to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the Norwegian departed Old Trafford.
The South American has the French giants top of Ligue 1 by a healthy 11-point margin and second in UEFA Champions League Group A ahead of Wednesday's trip to Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City (Paramount+) but it has not been an easy 12 months for the former Tottenham Hotspur manager.
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The 49-year-old Pochettino, who captained the team as a player, is keen to return to England soon which is where his family have stayed since his return to Parc des Princes with France not working out to be the success all parties hoped it would be.
🆕📺 #ThisIsParis - EP 1️⃣4️⃣. On the episode:— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) November 21, 2021
⚽️ A look back at the trip to Bordeaux
❤️💙 Mauricio Pochettino talks about his affection for @PSG_English
🎙️ Exclusive interview with Dina-Ebimbe
🔗 Full episode: https://t.co/RNXHFnh6ds pic.twitter.com/GOmKdLU3Yd
Pochettino is largely getting results this season, but Les Parisiens' style is attracting major criticism and the man from Murphy's future has already been debated when he was linked with a Spurs return over the summer and when Lille OSC beat PSG to the Ligue 1 title.
Up until recently, separating with Pochettino was not up for debate in Paris with the former Southampton and Espanyol boss' contract extended until 2023 just a few months ago and a sacking like Thomas Tuchel's last midseason out of the question both financially and sportingly.
However, since PSG were made aware of Zidane's potential interest in a return to France after success with Real Madrid over two spells, the idea of allowing Pochettino to negotiate a return to England with Manchester United and full compensation is no longer ruled out.
Our farewell interview with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ❤#MUFC— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 21, 2021
While no move is anywhere close to fruition, it is a scenario which is now being considered both parties in Manchester and Paris with Zidane keener on PSG than United given that the French national team post will not be freed up for over another year.
Pochettino's recent quotes to L'Equipe barely disguised his dim view of the Parisien project with the former Argentina international's minimal effort to communicate in French one thorny issue and strained relations with sporting director Leonardo another.
"As a coach, you have ideas, habits and a way of seeing football," said Pochettino. "That said, you have to assess the project and see what stage it is at. When PSG come for you, it is so that you adapt to the existing structure with the players recruited to get what the club wants.
"It is important to know what PSG want and that is to win. The Champions League, Ligue 1, the Coupe de France -- everything. We did not come to build a project ourselves, looking for things to develop our ideas or what we might need. We came here to adapt and win -- very different.
"We are here to develop PSG's ideas, not to develop our own defined ideas as that would require building with the elements which we deem necessary for these ideas."
Whether Zidane would ultimately come to the same conclusion is difficult to predict, but PSG are a top club which he would consider instead of France at present while his links with Qatar are also useful and he is the only other coach to have even been discussed in Paris.
There has been no contact between any parties and no request from Pochettino to leave for the moment, but there was equally no public statement over the summer when Spurs rumors dragged on when it would have been easy to shoot them down.