MANCHESTER CITY is eyeing Mauricio Pochettino amid doubts about Pep Guardiola’s future.
The former Tottenham boss is also on Barcelona’s radar with Quique Setien set to be sacked.
But Poch has admirers at City and would like to stay in England.
He knows that Guardiola, shaken by Saturday’s exit from the Champions League in Lyon, has only ten months of contract.
So far, Guardiola has not made a commitment to stay beyond next summer, which could soon leave City in limbo.
The club’s hierarchy would ideally like him to extend his deal and continue – despite another Euro failure.
His close friends at City – general manager Ferran Soriano and football director Txiki Begiristain – are keen to see him stay.
But Pep admitted last month that President Khaldoon al Mubarak was “not happy” with their efforts in the league – and the failure to win the FA Cup and Champions League since has not helped.
Poch, 48, has been well known to the Catalan Etihad base from his days working in Barcelona at Espanyol.
He is believed to have his admirers behind the scenes – and his record in Europe will not go unnoticed.
Last season he guided Spurs to the Champions League final for the first time in their history – although they ultimately lost to Liverpool.
Meanwhile, Guardiola’s inability to make it through the quarter-finals for a fourth straight year at City is bound to be a source of enormous frustration.
Poch still has a home in Hertfordshire and said on leaving Tottenham in the autumn that he would ideally like to make do in England again.
He had always suggested before that he couldn’t handle Barcelona out of loyalty to Espanyol – but his perspective may have changed after a nine-month absence from the game.
He has always been seen as a possible Manchester United manager, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is safe for the foreseeable future now.
Taking over from Guardiola and achieving the European glory the club aspires to would please him and be a challenge he enjoyed.
He has always spoken publicly of his respect for the town boss – although in private he resented living in his shadow in Catalonia.
He wouldn’t be the only name in the frame to take over from Pep and it would be an extremely attractive job when he left.
RB Leipzig’s Julian Nagelsmann is another whose European exploits have caught the attention of City’s top brass.