Mauricio Pochettino seems to be in line for a return to management – and although it won’t be in the Premier League, there could be a British connection.
Former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur manager Pochettino has been out of work since Paris Saint-Germain sacked him in July. Although he had just won Ligue 1 with them, there were higher, unfulfilled expectations on the European stage.
It has been something of a mystery since as to where the 50-year-old will end up next. He was suggested for the Manchester United job before Erik ten Hag was appointed instead over the summer.
Since then, he has also supposedly been kept in mind as a potential successor to two under-pressure Premier League managers: Leicester City’s Brendan Rodgers and Aston Villa’s Steven Gerrard.
However, that has just been mere speculation. Instead, there could be something more significant behind the latest links emerging about Pochettino.
According to French outlet Foot Mercato, Pochettino is due to meet with OGC Nice officials on Tuesday about the prospect of taking over.
There is currently pressure on Lucien Favre in the Nice hotseat. The club have won just two of their opening eight fixtures in Ligue 1 this season.
For a club who finished fifth under the guidance of Pochettino’s PSG successor Christophe Galtier last season, it has not represented progress.
And after they signed the likes of Kasper Schmeichel, Aaron Ramsey, Nicolas Pepe and Ross Barkley in the summer, Nice should realistically be aiming higher.
With that in mind, Favre is already at serious risk of losing his job. And in turn, Nice – controlled by British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos company – are looking at Pochettino as his possible replacement.
Their senior management figures will meet with Pochettino on Tuesday to explore a potential way forward together.
The report from Foot Mercato affirms that Nice will be able to afford Pochettino’s wages, which may have been an obstacle for other suitors. Therefore, the Argentine tactician might be back in work rather soon.
Pochettino set for second French challenge with intriguing subplot
Any Premier League admirers will have to look elsewhere if Nice’s negotiations are successful.
Joining the club from the French Riviera may be a good opportunity for Pochettino to get his formerly promising coaching career back on track. He should have strong support and an interesting group of players to work with.
Coincidentally, Nice’s first fixture after the international break will be against PSG on October 1. Perhaps each club will go into it with a manager who was in the opposite dugout last season.
It will be interesting to see them pitting their wits against each other. Pochettino in particular might have a point to prove, but will be starting from scratch with Nice.
Still, there will be a few familiar faces for him to work with. In particular, he would be reuniting with his former Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.
There is potential in the Nice squad to be competitive, but several of their stars have faded. The same could be said of Pochettino, once a Champions League finalist with Tottenham.
But this might be the kind of move he needs to refocus and kickstart his career again.