Mauricio Pochettino wants to return to the Premier League. That much is clear - he said so himself this week. The question, however, is where might he end up. If the former Tottenham manager does get his wish, surely he will be in line to land a job at one of the other 'big six' sides.
Yet, at this moment in time, it's unknown if such an opportunity will present itself, however well-regarded the Argentine may be. Mikel Arteta's Arsenal project is underway, Frank Lampard is at Chelsea for the long haul, Jurgen Klopp isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer might leave Manchester United, and they've been linked with Pochettino in the past. If the Argentine did indeed end up taking charge of the Red Devils at some point down the line, there would be minimal surprise.
There's one side we haven't yet mentioned. England's champions over the last two seasons - managed by arguably the most talented and successful coach of the last decade - Manchester City might appear an unlikely destination for any manager, let alone Pochettino.
But Pep Guardiola's future is up in the air. It's well known he doesn't tend to stick around at clubs forever, and the Catalan has regularly appeared frustrated this campaign. Granted, his side are well off the pace - a whopping 22 points behind Liverpool.
Guardiola's future at the club may well be dictated by how City do in the Champions League - a competition which they have fallen short in throughout Guardiola's tenure. In three seasons, City have been knocked out at the quarter-final stage twice - by Pochettino's Spurs last season, and Klopp's Liverpool the season before that. Monaco saw them off in the last 16 in 2017.
If City were to win it this time, Guardiola will have done it all at the club, and perhaps it will be time for him to move on. However, failure may result in an identical outcome. The point is Guardiola looks likely to leave City sooner rather than later, and Pochettino ought to be considered as the ideal candidate to succeed him.
First, he fits the character profile that City would be after. He is well-spoken, well-respected, and boasts an elite-level footballing pedigree. In this sense, the Argentine would fill Guardiola's void seamlessly, having no trouble becoming the face of the club.
He has garnered so much respect around Europe's top clubs given the impressive jobs he did first at Southampton, and then at Tottenham. In his one and only season at the Saints, he guided them to an eighth place finish, and achieved their highest points tally since the 1992-93 season.
During his five years at Spurs, he reached the 2019 Champions League Final, helped them finish second in 2016/17 with a club-record 86 points, and missed out on the top four just once.
One achievement hits home the hardest. While Manchester City have spent close to £600m on new players since Guardiola took over, the furthest they have come to European success is the quarter-finals.
By contrast, Pochettino, hamstrung by Tottenham's budgets, managed to reach last year's final, beating Guardiola's City in the process. Could Pochettino, who would have considerably more money to spend than in previous jobs, be the man to lead them that extra step in the competition they covet the most?
Might City be in need of a fresh impetus after what will be four years of Guardiola?
Pochettino is renowned for his high intensity pressing, dynamic counter-attacking, and aggressive tactics. His style of play would certainly provide the Citizens with an attractive brand of football close to that of Guardiola's.
Another consideration is Pochettino's reputation for developing young players into international stars. Spurs duo Harry Kane, and Dele Alli burst onto the scene under the Argentine - they are now regarded as two of the country's finest.
At City meanwhile, teenage prodigy Phil Foden remains underused. David Silva is in his final season, and Sergio Aguero isn't getting any younger. With City in need of rejuvenation, perhaps it is time to begin a new cycle under the direction of a manager renowned for overseeing the development of talented young players into world class stars.
In any case, Guardiola's contract has less than 18 months to run. City will not want to lose him, but it will happen eventually. It will be an impossible task to locate a like-for-like replacement for someone so unique.
However, City could do far worse than look to Pochettino, who might just prove to be their best bet to replace Guardiola. He has his heart set on a Premier League return, and there isn't anyone more appealing available.
Source : 90min