Paris St Germain’s new boss Mauricio Pochettino almost became Manchester United manager some time ago, according to a new report from The Athletic.
The Argentinian was out of work for just over a year before being snapped up by PSG following the dismissal of Thomas Tuchel. It was widely believed that he coveted the United job and there has long been a sense of him ‘lurking in the shadows’ every time that current incumbent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has gone on a bad run.
And The Athletic claims that ‘such was the interest at one stage it is said a meeting between a senior United official and Pochettino took place off a junction of the M25 motorway. A tentative sounding-out of sorts.’
The outlet further suggests that Poch was schmoozed by Sir Alex Ferguson while still at Spurs and that the great Scot ‘enjoyed dining with Pochettino in 2016, at Scott’s Restaurant in Mayfair, just a few minutes’ walk from United’s London offices.
‘It was a public display of mutual appreciation that projected a future pursuit, even if United knew it would cost considerably more than the £114 bottle of Brunello di Montalcino red wine the pair are believed to have shared.’
To prise him away from Daniel Levy’s clutches at Spurs would have cost United around £42 million in compensation, a figure the club was unwilling to pay.
In fact, reporter Laurie Whitwell claims that United’s executive vice chairman Ed Woodward has long since abandoned any interest in hiring the former Spurs man.
‘It was after just two games that Woodward, on a visit to Solskjaer’s office, asked how things were going and was impressed to instead be shown a flip chart of what United’s team might look like in three years.’
(Hard to avoid inserting sarcastic comment here).
Whilst many fans are still undecided as to whether Solskjaer is the man to take United back to the glory days they enjoyed under Sir Alex, their current position level on points with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League is certainly a sign of great progress.
And whether or not that progress is maintained, Solskjaer can at least breathe easily knowing that Pochettino is no longer in the picture and that any delays on the M25 will be due to sheer volume of traffic rather than secret meetings with rival managers.
Manchester United have fielded some of the worlds greatest centre backs over the years, but how much do you know about them? Take our quiz below to find out!