Barcelona are set to sack Ernesto Valverde. They’ve decided that, after two-and-a-half successful yet disappointing years, it’s time to hire someone else. And despite Mauricio Pochettino previously ruling out taking over at the Nou Camp, he appears to be on their radar.
Pochettino was asked about potentially managing Barcelona back in 2017, when he was still Tottenham manager.
And he emphatically ruled it out, saying: “I am an Espanyol supporter. I don’t think I need to speak too much.
“In football I know it is so difficult to keep your values and to be loyal – with your heart and emotion.
“But for me before being a manager, before being a player, being loyal is more important. I am an Espanyol fan. I love Espanyol.”
However, while Pochettino’s loyalty should be admired, that may not deter Barcelona from going for him.
The Catalan giants are full of admiration for the Argentine and the work he did at Tottenham prior to his sacking in October.
He actually wanted Pochettino to get the United job before they hastily made Solskjaer permanent boss back in March last year.
And he is still of the opinion that Pochettino has the traits required to succeed at Old Trafford, despite Solskjaer being one of his own players.
Ed Woodward also likes Pochettino.
He is the one behind Solskjaer the most but even he is aware that, with the former Tottenham boss currently available, it represents a fine opportunity.
As we’ve already mentioned, United have no plans to axe Solskjaer.
But if Barcelona make a move for Pochettino, that may force them into changing tact.
Because, should the Argentine suddenly take a job at an elite European giants, that gives United little choice but to stand by Solskjaer – even if things worsen.
Massimiliano Allegri is available but the Juventus icon doesn’t necessarily fit the club’s DNA.
They admire Julian Nagelsmann but there’s a realisation that the RB Leipzig manager isn’t going anywhere just yet.
And United would be out of options. Pochettino to Barcelona still seems unrealistic but, given his close relationship with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu, it can’t be ruled out.
Should Pochettino move to the Nou Camp it could also mean him staying there for years to come.
Barcelona never wanted Pep Guardiola or Luis Enrique to depart and they hoped Valverde would be there for the long term.
And the fear of that happening could also prompt United into making an approach.