Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly in talks to become Zenit St Petersburg manager as the Russian giants look to replace Sergei Semak.
Despite his departure from Tottenham Hotspur just under a year ago, Pochettino is still regarded as one of the best managers and sharpest tacticians in Europe, and had been strongly linked with a number of top European clubs.
Manchester City are said to be one of the teams monitoring the situation at a time where Pep Guardiola’s long-term future at the Etihad Stadium remains unclear.
Not far from there on the red side of the city, Manchester United have also been linked with the Argentine on several occasions during periods where Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s future looks unstable.
However, according to Russian publication Championat, underperforming Zenit want to bring in Pochettino as a replacement for current manager Semak, with the club third in the domestic league table and without any points in the Champions League either.
The report adds that Zenit have ‘a real chance’ of landing their man because none of his other touted suitors have made a move to date and the 48-year-old is now ‘open to proposals’.
It is worth noting that the article should perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt – the unsubstantiated rumour is only mentioned in the opening paragraph, with the rest of the piece essentially a chronology of Pochettino’s coaching career to date.
Pochettino will be best remembered for his time with Spurs where, despite not lifting a single trophy, he took the north London club to previously unattainable heights, most notably of course in the 2018/19 Champions League.
Before that he had guided Spurs to their best ever Premier League finish (second), as well as three more top-four finishes in his five seasons with the club.
As the former Argentine international looks set to return to a Champions League dugout in the near future, his previous spells in charge of Real Sociedad and Southampton seem like ancient history.
If a deal with Zenit does come to fruition, it will be likely be a lucrative one for the former Paris Saint-Germain defender, although not quite as lucrative as his previous deal with Spurs.
Zenit are reportedly prepared to hand Pochettino a deal worth just under £6m a year, £2.5m shy of his previous yearly earnings.