What Mauricio Pochettino has said about four Man Utd stars as club make approach

Manchester United have made contact with former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino about replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Solskjaer’s position at Old Trafford is appearing increasingly tenuous ahead of today’s trip to Goodison Park to face Everton.

After three defeats in their opening six Premier League games, United fell to a new low in midweek, losing 2-1 to Turkish champions Istanbul Basaksehir.

Daily Star Sport reported last month that should Solskjaer lose his job, Pochettino is United’s first-choice to replace him.

United have already sounded out the Argentinian and after making contact with his representatives, discovered he is keen to take on the role.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is a big admirer of the ex-Spurs boss and despite being reluctant to sack Solskjaer, he could make the call if they suffer defeat against the Toffees.

Pochettino is ready to jump back into management, for the first time since he was replaced as Spurs boss by former United manager Jose Mourinho.

"I am always ready to go again and be involved in the game," Pochettino told Sky Sports earlier this week.  "It's not stress when you are working, it's not stress going into the training round to prepare the match and to compete.

"I hope to go back soon so we can start again to work. I am looking forward to being back in the game. I love this game but it's difficult, we are inside and working on doing things. That's the reality."

So with Pochettino in the frame for the top job at Old Trafford, Mirror Sport have taken a look at what he has had to say about some of the players he could manage in the coming months.

Paul Pogba

Many believe that Pogba’s stay at United could be coming to an end. Solskjaer confirmed that the club had agreed a 12-month extension on his contract, but critics have continued to target his below-par showings.

But Pochettino is clearly a big fan of the Frenchman, comparing him to Eden Hazard back in January of last year, suggesting he is one of the top players in the Premier League.

"When you play in this Premier League, every weekend, or every three days as we've been playing in the last few months, always it's about the opponent have a few players that can make the difference," Pochettino said.

"Like last Tuesday it was Hazard, and now Pogba. Pogba is a very talented player, a great player of course. But it's not only Pogba or Hazard, there are different players around.

"Of course they are special players. Manchester United have a great squad with great players with a lot of quality. Of course we are not going to be only focused on Pogba, we need to be focused on the whole team not just one player."

Luke Shaw

Left-back is a position that any manager at Old Trafford will have to decide about.

The arrival of Alex Telles, means Shaw could be at risk of dropping out of United’s starting XI in the near future.

Pochettino helped Shaw burst on to the scene during his time with Southampton and in his final season with the Saints, the Argentinian claimed he was one of the best in the world in his position.

“He can play at Real Madrid or the World starting XI. He really has the quality to do so,” Pochettino said in 2014.

When asked if he could be one of the best left-backs in the world, he added: “I am not sure if he is one already. I think so.

“I am not sure if he is already the best one in the world.”

That level of respect does appear mutual as the United defender claimed he would love to play under Pochettino again.

"I think with Southampton he achieved the impossible” he wrote in the epilogue of his former manager’s book. “We were one of the best footballing teams in the league… I do hope that I can play for him again one day. And I think he really wants me to play under him again.

"He used to call me his son, that's how good our relationship was. I've had lots of ups and downs, but when I was with Pochettino it was only ever up, up, up.”

Donny van de Beek

Van de Beek’s lack of game time under Solskjaer has been one of the big talking points this season.

Solskjaer is blooding the former Ajax man in slowly, but fans are becoming increasingly frustrated.

Spurs were linked with the Dutchman in 2019 and prior to the Champions League semi final, Pochettino was full of praise for him.

Asked who their biggest threat was, he said: “Van de Beek. Nobody talks much about him. But he has a dynamic in the game, he gets behind Tadic, he arrives, he works, he scores goals.

“Logically, I love De Jong and De Ligt. But the example of the operation of this Ajax is Van de Beek. I like very much. They have a young player, from the academy, in each line, that shows what the team is.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have missed out on Jadon Sancho in the summer, but he still made some big moves in the transfer market with Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani all arriving.

But their start to the season has been a mixed bag, with a home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 6-1 thrashing by Spurs at one end of the scale, and a tremendous 2-1 win over PSG in Paris at the other.

The question now is whether they can find the right balance?

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Odion Ighalo

The Nigerian looks surplus to requirements at Old Trafford, but back in 2015, Pochettino admitted he was a fan of the then Watford striker.

Before a game with Spurs, he said: “Ighalo is very good, I know him from Spain and he’s a striker that is difficult to deal with. We need to be clever and do our job for Monday.”

Should Manchester United replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Mauricio Pochettino? Have your say in the comments below.

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