Zidane scuppers Manchester United's plan to poach Pochettino
From what AS understands, PSG have given up on the idea of hiring Zidane, which complicates Pochettino leaving to take the Manchester United job.
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United have been working for the past few hours on two of the biggest operations of the season so far. United's priority was to bring in Mauricio Pochettino to take over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. For that to happen, they needed PSG to agree to release the Argentinean coach - something that the Ligue 1 side were only willing to do if they could find a sustitute and only one name is on their list: Zinedine Zidane.
The entire process is now at a complete standstill. From what AS understands, PSG have not been able to persuade the former Real Madrid coach, who is not entirely convinced by the idea of taking a team halfway through the season. Besides, he is currently involved in other projects and would rather wait until he is ready before returning to coaching. While Zidane feels very flattered by PSG's interest, it looks highly unlikely that he would accept an offer to replace Pochettino at the moment.
United target Pochettino
That, in turn, scuppers Manchester United plans. They are convinced that Poch will take the manager's job at Old Trafford - if not now, then at some point in the not too distant future. The coach is thrilled at the prospect of returning to the Premier League and he also enjoys a good relationship with United through his friendship with Sir Alex Ferguson, who he is in contact with. He won't demand that Paris let him leaves as he is very grateful to the club for the opportunity they gave him when they hired him at the start of the year. That suggests that if Pochettino does end up at Old Trafford, it will be next summer and not now. If that transpires, PSG will have a second attempt at coaxing Zizou.
Pochettino, who is conscious of the situation, appeared relaxed in his pre-match press conference ahead of the Champions League meeting with Manchester City. "I am happy in Paris. I know the city well. Both as a player and as a coach, I have been through these kinds of situations. These things happen and it's not my responsibility. What I will say, if I am asked, is that I am happy in Paris," he explained.
As of the moment, it doesn't look like either coach will be on the move. However, that doesn't mean that both clubs haven't given up all hope. Attractive financial proposals can make a difference. PSG are willing to offer Zidane a huge salary and Manchester United would be happy to compensate the French club if they let Pochettino go. As a last resort, United haven't ruled out the possibility of bringing in a new manager just until the end of the season (Ernesto Valverde is one of the candidates in mind, The Guardian reports). One of the transfer sagas of the season could continue until the summer window opens...