Manchester United could face missing out on their prime target to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly in talks over a shock move to Zenit St-Petersburg.
Pochettino is believed to be United’s first-choice for the managerial job if they end up firing Solskjaer.
The Argentine manager is still out of a job a year on from leaving Tottenham Hotspur.
He was expected to walk into another job soon after he was fired by Spurs, and was tipped to take over at Newcastle if the club’s takeover went through, but he remains waiting on the sidelines waiting for the right role.
He was widely expected to take over from Solskjaer earlier in the year when it seemed the United hierarchy were losing patience with the former striker.
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United opted to keep the faith in Solskjaer on that occasion, though speculation now suggests they could be losing faith.
After a poor start to the season, a humiliating 6-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham triggered reports that Ed Woodward could pull the trigger.
Pochettino was believed to be the club’s first-choice – considering he is still available and is yet to agree a deal with a new club.
But now, he could be set to be taken off the market, with Zenit St-Petersburg reportedly in talks.
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The Russian giants still have a manager, Sergei Semak, but have endured a tough spell of form recently.
In their last nine games, they’ve only won three matches, and find themselves third in the table.
And according to Russian outlet Championat, Zenit are keen on making a change and hiring Pochettino instead.
They will reportedly offer him a whopping contract worth £5.9million per-year, which is close to the same amount as Solskjaer currently makes at Old Trafford.
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Real Madrid are also said to be keen on Pochettino, with Zinedine Zidane’s position at the Bernabeu under threat.
Los Blancos have suffered from poor form recently, and their 3-1 win over Barcelona in El Clasico on Saturday could well have saved his job.
Their Champions League campaign has been a disaster so far, having lost 3-2 against Shaktar Donestk last week.
They then followed that up with a poor performance against Borussia Monchengladbach, and were made to fight back from 2-0 down to scrape a last-minute draw.
And speaking after the game, Zidane warned it’ll be a difficult year for his side.
The French manager said: “We didn’t transform the possession we enjoyed into proper chances.
“What I’ll take from this experience is how these players reacted. This was a very important point to secure.
“This is going to be a difficult year for everyone, but I’m proud of my team tonight.
“Playing like this we’ll go through the group to the next round without any doubt.”
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