Mauricio Pochettino could one day return to Tottenham for a second spell at the helm, chairman Daniel Levy has suggested.

Pochettino – who guided Spurs to four successive top-four finishes in the Premier League, as well as last season's Champions League final – was sacked in November following a poor start to the campaign.

Jose Mourinho was swiftly appointed his successor, with Spurs winning five of their seven matches since in all competitions.

Levy made the call to dismiss Pochettino, but hinted it does not necessarily mean the end of the Argentine's association with Spurs, who established themselves as one of the Premier League's elite clubs under his guidance.

"You have to understand I had built up a personal relationship with Mauricio over five and a half years," Levy told the Evening Standard.

"It is not something I ever wanted. Personally, it was incredibly difficult, I told him that and he understood.

"He's been in football [a long time], he understands. It's not personal and I'm sure he'll come back stronger and get an opportunity to manage another great club. Maybe one day he'll come back to us.

"I'm not going to sit here and analyse the past. It's not productive. Mauricio did a fantastic job for us, we are very grateful. I wish him all the best for the future.

"I'm still in contact with him. My relationship is very good with him. It just got to the point where it felt we needed a divorce."

Spurs wasted little time in bringing in Mourinho and, though Levy confirmed other options were considered, the Portuguese was always the club's top priority.

"Many years ago, I can't remember exactly, we were linked with him," said Levy. "But I'd never spoken to Jose. We never had a conversation. And his availability was totally unrelated to Mauricio, not connected at all.

"I can't remember when I first spoke to Jose, but once I made the decision in my mind we had to make the change, although internally we knew of more than one candidate who would have been interested, Jose was absolutely number one.

"We had a number of discussions. Firstly, it was such a hard decision and you never know what you are really getting until you work with somebody.

"There are lots of perceptions out there in relation to Jose that I'm not sure are true. I wanted to spend some time with him so we were totally aligned, on the basis there was no point him coming to a club where he expected different things to us. And we were totally aligned on the strategy going forward."

Master meets apprentice in the Premier League this weekend as Jose Mourinho and Tottenham entertain Frank Lampard's Chelsea.

Spurs, after taking 12 points from a possible 15 under their new boss, have the chance to climb above their London rivals and into the top four.

Mourinho managed Lampard across two separate stints at Stamford Bridge and will hope to assert his authority after the then-Derby County boss knocked his Manchester United team out of the EFL Cup in September 2018.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have endured a sudden run of losses that leaves them in danger of coming unstuck against opponents who have enjoyed a swift rise since parting ways with Mauricio Pochettino.

Here, we assess Opta data to determine what changes Mourinho has made, and whether there could be problems ahead.

 

FINE FINISHING MASKING MOURINHO'S SHORTCOMING?

Part of the Mourinho package that must have appealed to Daniel Levy was the Portuguese's ability to organise a defence and eradicate the vulnerabilities that led to results like the 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.

The 56-year-old, however, has acted against type in his fourth life as a Premier League boss, releasing the handbrake on a Spurs side that has scored 14 times in five matches under the new regime.

Their return of 2.8 goals per game exceeds the scoring average recorded in each of Pochettino's five full seasons in charge and is double the number managed across the final 12 games he oversaw.

Can it be sustained? Dele Alli, Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and company will surely find it difficult to maintain the 58 per cent shooting accuracy that has helped lift the gloom. The closest Spurs came to achieving such sharpness with Pochettino in the manager's seat was the 53 per cent they posted in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Tottenham's number of shots per game has, in fact, dipped significantly since his departure, to 11.8 on average with Mourinho at the helm.

That figure ranks well below the levels set under Pochettino, particularly the 17.6 attempted per 90 minutes in 2016-17 and even the 12.5 that were being unleashed before the managerial change was made this term.

Superficially, the current shot conversion rate of 24 per cent works in Mourinho's favour, but there is a risk of results turning if such clinical finishing reverts to somewhere close to their mean of 11.6 per cent under Pochettino.

 

NO PREOCCUPATION WITH POSSESSION

Unsurprisingly, Tottenham are now seeing less of the ball than they did under Pochettino, a footballer and coach of the Marcelo Bielsa school.

Mourinho has presided over a decline in average possession to 50 per cent; over the course of a full campaign, his predecessor's teams never averaged less then 59 per cent.

Passing accuracy has naturally become a lower priority as this more functional Spurs side looks to get the ball forward quicker in order to better harness Alli's ingenuity and Son Heung-min's speed.

Near their peak, in the 2016-17 campaign that saw them finish second behind Chelsea, Tottenham were completing over 60 more passes per game.

Mourinho would argue that such statistics are irrelevant on matchday, especially one as important as Sunday.

He might, however, have more time for a review of his record in games against the clubs that have employed him in the past.

EDGING HIS EXES

Mourinho has demonstrated a well-documented taste for attention throughout his successful managerial career and he will be under the spotlight when the Blues make the short trip to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Chelsea have hit a slump of four defeats in five Premier League matches at an inopportune time but should take no real fear from their former boss' record against previous employers.

Mourinho has faced old clubs on 33 occasions and won 18 times, losing nine and drawing the other six.

A win percentage of 55 per cent from those matches could do with improving for a man set to face a club that dismissed him twice.

Chelsea, of course, have appeared buoyant under a much-loved figure who recently said he would never manage Tottenham, and will hope to show that Mourinho's Spurs lack substance.

Diego Maradona wants former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to take charge of "the biggest team in the world" Boca Juniors.

Pochettino has been linked with Manchester United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich since he was sacked by Premier League side Tottenham last month.

Maradona – head coach of Argentina's Superliga side Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata – nominated Pochettino to return to his homeland and lead Boca, who are looking for a new coach after Gustavo Alfaro stepped down.

After Boca and Argentina great Juan Roman Riquelme returned to the club as vice-president following December's election, Maradona was asked if he would move back to the powerhouse team following two spells.

"I will not go to Boca… because I repeat that I do not agree with those who will manage the club," Maradona told Ole. "The president [Jorge Amor Ameal] was already there and it was a disaster, he surrounded himself with [vice-president Mario Pergolini] who believes that he can handle the club. 

"And Roman... a club is not run within the locker room. It's much harder than stopping the ball, giving a pass or kicking a free-kick.

"Boca have to take a technician to play and feel what Boca is. It's not easy to sit in that chair. The best of all is Maradona [laughs]. 

"But now I will not go, there at some point it happens. But I would like Mauricio Pochettino. You have to call him and convince him to come to lead the biggest team in the world."

Maradona added: " I want to finish in the best way. First I want to save Gymnasia [from relegation], then we'll see."

Boca are second in the Superliga, a point behind leaders Argentinos Juniors, while Gimnasia are 21st in the 24-team division.

Arsenal appear to have strengthened their interest in Nuno Espirito Santo.

Just over two weeks after dismissing Unai Emery, the Gunners are reportedly ready to hold talks with one of the top contenders to take over at Emirates Stadium.

But the Portuguese is not alone when it comes to candidates with Premier League experience.

 

TOP STORY – GUNNERS STEP UP NUNO CHASE

Arsenal will ask Wolves for permission to conduct formal discussions with Nuno next week, according to the Daily Mail.

The north Londoners are reportedly ready to "set to accelerate their interest" in the 45-year-old former Valencia and Porto head coach.

Belgium boss Robert Martinez is also said to have been approached, while Mauricio Pochettino, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira continue to be linked.

Freddie Ljungberg has overseen two draws, a defeat and a solitary victory since taking charge on an interim basis.

ROUND-UP

- Like his former employers, ex-Arsenal boss Emery will not be rushed into a decision on his next move. Marca says the Spaniard has turned down the chance to speak to two Chinese clubs and managerless Everton since becoming a free agent on November 29.

- Premier League champions Manchester City hope to bring wantaway winger Jadon Sancho back to the Etihad Stadium after losing him to Borussia Dortmund in 2017, reports the Daily Mail.

- On the outer at Chelsea, Olivier Giroud appears to be moving closer to the Stamford Bridge exit door. L'Equipe claims the France striker is close to agreeing personal terms on a January switch to Inter, where he would reunite with Antonio Conte.

- Serie A side Milan will be offered the chance to sign Luka Jovic on loan from Real Madrid in January, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

- Barcelona will listen to offers of €10million for teenage defender Jean-Clair Todibo, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Spanish newspaper claims Bayer Leverkusen, Milan, Monaco, Southampton and Watford have submitted bids.

- Real Betis have sealed a deal to sign former Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, according to Deportes Cuatro.

Murmurs about Pep Guardiola's potential departure from Manchester City are not going away.

Recent reports have suggested the successful Catalan could look to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.

It now appears Guardiola has the power to make that happen.

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA'S ESCAPE ROUTE

An exit clause in the contract Guardiola signed last year gives the two-time Premier League winner the chance to leave City at the conclusion of the campaign, reports the Daily Mail.

Guardiola's deal, which he renewed in May 2018, runs through to 2021, but it seems he will have a decision to make when the club's title defence comes to a close.

City have formulated contingency plans, according to the report, and are "known to be admirers" of former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Guardiola, 48, has been linked with a return to Bayern Munich but last month said he was "open" to signing another contract extension with City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United missed out on Liverpool-bound Takumi Minamino because the Old Trafford club were unaware of a £7.25million exit clause in the winger's Salzburg contract, says the Mirror.

- Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund want to keep Jadon Sancho in January but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United are confident of pushing through a transfer for the England international, claims the Mirror.

- Inter are monitoring Argentine attacking midfielder Rodrigo De Paul but are not prepared to meet Udinese's €35m asking price, according to CalcioMercato.

- Carlo Ancelotti is set to fly to London for talks with Everton as the managerless Merseysiders look to beat Arsenal to the ex-Napoli boss, says the Sun.

- Ivan Rakitic appears set to stay at Barcelona after all. The midfielder wants to continue at Camp Nou after breaking back into the starting XI over the past four matches, reports Marca.

Harry Kane has no limits to what he can do and is still yet to reach his peak, according to former Tottenham team-mate Roberto Soldado.

Soldado joined Spurs from Valencia in 2013 but the striker – a regular scorer in LaLiga – found life tough in England, managing just seven goals in 52 league appearances over the course of two seasons before leaving for Villarreal.

However, Soldado believes he was not helped by the emergence of Kane, who quickly impressed his fellow frontman during their time working together in England.

"I always say that if there is one period of my career I'm not happy with, it's my time at Tottenham," Soldado, now at Granada, said in an interview with The Guardian.

"I also had Harry Kane's boom to contend with, I understood perfectly because you could see it from the start.

"I saw his level in training and it was amazing. I don't think there's a limit to what he can do; we still haven't seen the best of Harry Kane.

"When we did shooting drills… pfff. With both feet, he was prolific. He plays so well back to goal, gives assists, is intelligent, thinks quicker than before.

"Maybe he had struggled this season because the team wasn't having the best time, but he's continually improving."

Soldado came through the ranks at Real Madrid and believes Kane would fit right in at the Spanish club, adding: "I'd like to see it."

The 34-year-old has watched from afar as Tottenham have struggled this season, leading to the departure of Mauricio Pochettino.

Jose Mourinho has since taken charge, with Soldado confident the Portuguese will "get them competing" after a sticky start.

"I don't know [what went wrong for Pochettino]," Soldado said on the current situation. "I still talk to Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen, but about personal stuff. You could see it wasn't working. 

"[Mauricio] Pochettino had a very clear idea; he worked us very hard tactically and physically, which I think we needed after Tim Sherwood. From the start, he connected with the dressing room and every year it got better.

"The level Pochettino got from the players was higher than anyone could have expected. [But] they lost consistency and maybe Spurs needed a change.

"Now one of the best coaches has arrived and he’ll get them competing. Kane will always be grateful to Pochettino, I’m sure: his big change came with him. But he’ll trust José Mourinho because he’s a great coach."

Mauricio Pochettino has opened the door for a quick return to management following his recent exit from Tottenham, saying he is open to listening to any offers put before him.

The 47-year-old was sacked by the Premier League club on November 19 after a difficult start to the season, with Jose Mourinho brought in as his replacement.

Pochettino returned to his native Argentina to unwind but is ready to step back into work should the right opportunity present itself.

"There are a lot of clubs and attractive projects for me to take on," he told Fox Sports Argentina.

"For the time being, the most important thing is for me to clear my head after five-and-a-half incredible seasons with Tottenham. 

"My aim is to seek the ability to rebuild myself and get my self-motivation back.

"It is my intention to return to manage in Europe. It is hard for me to imagine a project in Argentina. However, for the sake of my family, I would not refuse to work over here.

"But now I need to be calm for a few days and see what happens. I haven't had a lot of time to digest what has happened with me.

"My first decision was to come back to Argentina, return to my home and see family and friends. My best decision was to come to Argentina to switch off for 10 days.

"But I expect to return to Europe to make decisions on my future. At my age I don't need a lot of time to recover. I am open to listen to projects put before me."

Arsenal are on the lookout for a new boss following the dismissal of Unai Emery last week, while German champions Bayern Munich are without a permanent head coach.

Manchester United are also rumoured to be long-term admirers of Pochettino, who guided Tottenham to top-four finishes in four of his five full seasons in charge, as well as their first Champions League final in 2018-19.

In August 2018, Mauricio Pochettino guided Tottenham to a 3-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's Manchester United at Old Trafford.

In hindsight, it was a defeat that appeared to signal the beginning of the end for Mourinho at United, with the Portuguese coach sacked four months later, replaced – initially on a temporary basis – by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Pochettino was heavily linked with the United hot seat, but Solskjaer's impressive run earned him the job permanently. But while Spurs went on to reach a Champions League final, the Red Devils' form dropped off dramatically.

Now, 16 months on from that clash at Old Trafford, Mourinho returns to his former stomping ground for the first time since his December 2018 sacking, having taken over from Pochettino at Spurs – who dismissed the former Argentina international following a poor start to 2019-20.

Two 3-2 wins on the bounce in the league, either side of a 4-2 comeback victory over Olympiacos in the Champions League, have seen Tottenham climb up to fifth place, two points above United, who could only draw with Aston Villa on Sunday.

Can Mourinho show his old side just what they are missing, or will Solskjaer prove his credentials in a match over which the spectre of Pochettino could loom large.

 

THE 'SPECIAL ONE' RETURNS

Glory in the EFL Cup and Europa League made Mourinho's first year in charge of United a successful one, though those were the only major trophies he won during his stint in Manchester.

After finishing second – well behind neighbours Manchester City – in Mourinho's sophomore year, United's form tailed off at the start of the former Chelsea boss' final campaign in charge.

Their home defeat to Tottenham followed on from a loss at Brighton and Hove Albion, while they also went down to both West Ham and City as they suffered four defeats from their opening 12 matches.

A run of three successive draws against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Arsenal paved the way for a 3-1 reverse at Liverpool to result in Mourinho's departure.

But after almost a year out of management, he was handed a way back into the big time with Spurs, who seem rejuvenated – albeit still with some glaring weaknesses – and Mourinho is now aiming to become just the third manager to win a Premier League away game at Old Trafford with two different clubs.

United, on the other hand, have managed just four league victories this season and head into Wednesday's encounter without a victory in three matches across all competitions.

In fact, since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis on March 28, United have claimed all three points in just six Premier League games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: MARCUS RASHFORD V HARRY KANE

One shining light for United in recent weeks has been the form of Marcus Rashford, who seems to have taken up the mantle of leading the Red Devils' youthful attack.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane's goals were not enough to save Pochettino's job, but the England captain is still as reliable as ever when presented with a chance.

Both players are on seven league goals for the season, with Rashford's 14 appearances one more than Kane.

Rashford has also played slightly more than Kane in terms of minutes, racking up 1,219 compared to the Tottenham striker's 1,165.

Kane is proving more efficient, with the 26-year-old scoring his seven goals from a total of 36 shots, resulting in a conversion rate of 19.44 per cent, while Rashford's rate stands at 16.67 per cent.

Not much separates the pair in terms of goal frequency – Kane edging this one with a strike every 166 minutes, compared to Rashford's 174.

However, Kane is the clear winner when it comes to expected goals. By this metric, Rashford (8.66) should be on at least eight goals for the campaign, while his opposite number at Spurs has only been expected to score five goals from the chances he has had this term.

FORM GUIDE

Pochettino managed two draws in his final matches in charge of Spurs, meaning Mourinho's side are now unbeaten in four league games.

Should Tottenham win, Mourinho will become their first manager to win his first three top-flight matches in charge. 

Dele Alli seems to have recaptured his best form, scoring twice and providing an assist in the two Premier League matches since Mourinho's arrival – as many as he had in his final 12 appearances under Pochettino.

United's haul of 18 points from their opening 14 Premier League matches this season means the Red Devils have endured their worst start to a domestic season since the 1988-89 campaign, when they also had 18 points and went on to finish 11th.

Both United and Tottenham are equal in one sense, however, with both having dropped 12 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.

HISTORY SAYS…

United's hopes will not be boosted by the fact they have lost three of their past seven home league meetings against Spurs, after losing only two of their previous 36 at Old Trafford.

However, Tottenham have lost more Premier League games to United than against any other side, though Mourinho can take solace in knowing the away team won in both top-flight meetings last season.

Kieran Trippier expects Mauricio Pochettino to bounce back from his Tottenham sacking and prove a success wherever he goes.

The Premier League side dismissed their long-serving manager this month and immediately replaced him with Jose Mourinho.

Pochettino spent just over five seasons in charge and led the club to a maiden Champions League final in June.

Arsenal and Bayern Munich have since been linked with the Argentinian and former Spurs defender Trippier is certain his old boss will make the most of his next job.

He told The Athletic: "I've got a lot of mates at Tottenham – players and staff. It wasn't nice to see what they went through, not getting the results they wanted. It wasn't nice to see them getting criticised.

"Now a new manager has come in and hopefully they'll get the results they want and push further up the table, where they deserve to be, but everyone knows how good [Pochettino] is as a manager.

"For sure he will be successful wherever he goes in the future.

"Obviously it was the chairman's decision to let the manager go. That's football. It happens. Players go, managers go."

Trippier's endorsement of Pochettino follows an awkward separation between player and manager in July.

The England international left for LaLiga side Atletico Madrid after failing to gain reassurances over his future in north London.

Asked if he had reached out to Pochettino, Trippier replied: "Yes, I sent him a message to tell him how much I appreciate everything he has done for me.

"I couldn't not text him. I'm not that type of person. He gave me the opportunity to play at the highest level.

"I've come on a long journey in my career and he was a big, big part of that, so I thanked him for everything he has done for me."

The right-back added: "He was a big reason why I got called up to the England squad because he was the one who gave me the opportunity to show I could play at the highest level.

"I've got full respect for him and for what he did to help me get to where I am now."

Jose Mourinho believes it is impossible for managers to match the 20-year dynasties that Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger achieved, with Premier League bosses now forced to "fight for our job every day".

Former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Mourinho was appointed Tottenham head coach last week after Mauricio Pochettino was sacked just six months on from guiding Spurs to the Champions League final.

Another high-profile departure followed on Friday as Unai Emery, Wenger's replacement, lost his job at Arsenal after 18 months at the helm.

Manchester United have similarly struggled to fill the void left by Ferguson, who reigned for fully 27 years at Old Trafford, with Mourinho acknowledging job security rarely lasts longer than a day now at top clubs.

"Twenty years in a club? I don't think it's possible," he told reporters.

"Modern life, new technologies, social media - I think everything has an influence, even people's mentality, faster relations, getting tired easily, so many things that are changing.

"Not [just] football but [these things] are changing the world and the perception of things that I think Wenger was the last 'man/one'. It's a bad thing for us.

"We have to adapt and we have to try to prove that we are the man for the job. We have to fight for our job every day.

"I think the times where people know the job is going to be mine for X amount of years [are gone]. You have to fight for your job every day. Not just with the football results but with everything you do in the club.

"I think it's normal. It happens in society in so many areas. I can imagine even yourself in your newspaper and your radio you have to not just sleep on what you did previously.

"I think you have to show every day you have that you are the guy for the job. I think it's just life."

But Mourinho said he does not go into new jobs worrying about how long his tenure will last.

"I don't think about that," he said. "I think about trying to show I am the man for the job every day."

Jose Mourinho insists he did not hold talks with Arsenal about replacing Unai Emery before becoming Tottenham's new head coach.

And the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Chelsea boss says the identity of the next Gunners head coach matters little to him - regardless of links to former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Mourinho was appointed by Tottenham last week, replacing the sacked Pochettino, but reports on Friday claimed he would also have been a target for Arsenal had Spurs' rivals moved faster in sacking Emery.

However, any suggestions that Mourinho may have discussed the Arsenal job with head of football Raul Sanllehi were batted away by the Portuguese.

Asked if his representative had met with Arsenal, Mourinho said: "No. No.

"Of course I never deny it because I never deny things. But when I was reading that I was in a meeting with Mr Sanllehi, it is not true."

Pochettino has emerged as one potential option at Emirates Stadium, meaning he would return to face Tottenham and Mourinho in charge of their fiercest rivals.

But Mourinho was not concerned by the prospect, insisting he would be taking on Arsenal and not the new coach.

"I never played against Pochettino in my life. Never," he said. "Manchester United against Tottenham, yes, Tottenham against Chelsea, yes, but never me against Pochettino.

"So if he goes to Arsenal, if he goes to I don't know which club, it will never be me against [him]. It will be me against these clubs.

"So yes, I look forward to playing against Arsenal; yes, I want to play against Arsenal. I know what it means for our fans.

"I know that one is a big one, not just because Arsenal is a big club that fights for the same objectives as we do, but also I know the meaning and I like it."

Arsenal sacked head coach Unai Emery on Friday following a disappointing start to his second season in charge of the club.

Emery lasted just 18 months in the job, paying the price for a winless run that spans seven games following Thursday's 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt in front of a sparse crowd at the Emirates Stadium.

Former Gunners midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has been promoted to take charge in an interim capacity, but what about the contenders to replace Emery on a permanent basis?

Here we examine seven potential candidates for what remains one of the most coveted jobs in football, despite Arsenal's recent struggles.

Massimiliano Allegri

The ex-Milan and Juventus boss won six Serie A titles during his coaching spell in Italy and is out of work after leaving the Allianz Stadium at the end of last season. Allegri also reached two Champions League finals with Juventus and is seemingly primed for a return to football management.

Carlo Ancelotti

Another proven winner, having lifted league trophies in Italy, England, France and Germany, as well as winning the Champions League three times. Ancelotti has experience of working in the Premier League with Chelsea, but he has had a tough time of things at Napoli this term and his reputation has taken a bit of a hit in the process.

Mauricio Pochettino

Another coach with experience of working in the Premier League with a London club, albeit at Arsenal's fierce rivals Tottenham. Pochettino worked wonders during his five-and-a-half years at Spurs, but he ultimately failed to win any silverware and his loyalty to the team that sacked him makes this an almost certain non-runner in the eyes of many.

Freddie Ljungberg

Iconic Arsenal midfielder Ljungberg is the man in possession of the job after being placed in caretaker charge. Following the initial success of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United in an identical capacity 13 months ago, leading to him landing the position full-time, could Arsenal be tempted to go down a similar route if results instantly improve?

Mikel Arteta

Sticking with the theme of turning to an ex-player to steady the ship, Arteta has long been tipped as a future Arsenal boss. The Spaniard captained the Gunners during his playing career and has spent the past few years picking up coaching advice from Pep Guardiola. The question, though, is whether he is ready to manage in his own right - and if so, would this really be the right first job to take on?

Patrick Vieira

Unlike Arteta, and indeed Ljungberg, Vieira has experience of managing in a big league after 17 months in charge of Ligue 1 side Nice, where he remains under contract. The ex-France international, still a legendary figure at Arsenal, guided Nice to a seventh-place finish last season and has previously hinted he would be interested in returning to Arsenal.

Nuno Espirito Santo

Nuno led Wolves out of the Championship and sealed a seventh-place finish in the Premier League last season. He has continued his upward trajectory this term by balancing European football with domestic commitments, but could he be persuaded to jump ship while onto a good thing at Molineux, where he is loved by supporters?

Mauricio Pochettino thanked Tottenham as the sacked manager ended his silence to say he gave the club "the best of me".

After five and a half years in charge, Pochettino was dismissed by Spurs last week following a miserable run of form that had the club in the bottom half of the Premier League table.

Jose Mourinho was swiftly appointed as head coach in his place and has since guided Tottenham to back-to-back wins against West Ham and Olympiacos.

Pochettino left a message for the squad on a training-ground whiteboard but made his first public pronouncement on his exit on Thursday.

The 47-year-old made Spurs regulars in the Champions League, reaching the 2018-19 final, and described "tough challenges" and "exciting success".

"I would like to thank [owner] Joe Lewis and [chairman] Daniel Levy for giving me the opportunity to be part of Tottenham Hotspur's history," he said, in a statement released by the League Managers Association.

"I would like to thank also everyone I met at Tottenham, all the club staff and the football players during these five and a half years.

"Finally, I would like to give a special mention to the fans who make this club so great with their fantastic support.

"I gave the best of me to accomplish the objectives I was asked for in our first meeting. There were equally tough challenges as exciting success.

"Best wishes for the future, I am sure we will cross paths again."

Even before leaving Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Pochettino was linked to both Manchester United and Real Madrid, along with Bayern Munich following Niko Kovac's sacking.

As pressure builds on Unai Emery at Arsenal, Pochettino is also among the favourites to take over at Tottenham's nearest rivals.

Kai Havertz is reportedly wanted by seven of Europe's biggest clubs.

The Germany and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has impressed in the Bundesliga, sparking interest from numerous clubs.

Havertz, 20, is contracted at Leverkusen until 2022, but that does not seem to be stopping Europe's best and biggest.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, MADRID AMONG SEVEN CLUBS WHO WANT HAVERTZ

LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are two of seven clubs who want Kai Havertz, according to Sport Bild.

Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are the other clubs interested in Havertz.

Havertz made his senior debut at Leverkusen in 2016 and has already amassed 121 appearances for the club.

ROUND-UP

- Talks between Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Milan are continuing. Sport Mediaset reports the striker wants €3million net until June, while Milan are offering €2m, with Ibrahimovic hoping to arrive at his next club by mid-December.

- Arsenal have started looking at potential replacements for under-fire head coach Unai Emery, according to The Daily Telegraph. Emery is under pressure after a run of six games without a win at Arsenal. Mauricio Pochettino, Massimiliano Allegri and Nuno Espirito Santo are reported candidates.

- Edinson Cavani is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and the Uruguayan could be set for an MLS move. Cavani's representatives met with LA Galaxy last week regarding a potential switch, according to Le10Sport.

- Arsenal and Lyon are interested in Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, reports Tuttomercatoweb. The 26-year-old France international has made just three LaLiga appearances this season after dealing with injuries.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Jan Vertonghen is keen to discuss a new deal with Tottenham, according to Sky Sports News. The centre-back is reportedly a target for Roma and Bayer Leverkusen.

- Inter Miami are still eyeing their first coach ahead of their inaugural MLS season in 2020. The Telegraph reports David Beckham is lining up Nice boss Patrick Vieira.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must be "selfish" and push to sign experienced players in the January transfer window, according to club legend Gary Neville.

The Red Devils sit ninth in the Premier League table following a thrilling 3-3 draw away at Sheffield United, leaving them nine points adrift of the top four.

Solskjaer has delivered just four wins from 13 league matches this term and pointed to a lack of experience for his side's latest setback at Bramall Lane.

The Norwegian has put faith in a number of young players across his 11 months in charge, but Neville has urged his former team-mate to recruit more experienced heads if he is to save his job.

"Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has to go and spend the club's money in January, for himself," Neville said during Sky Sports' Monday Night Football show. "He has to go and spend the club's money on two or three experienced players, he must demand it.

"He's not going to be there to see the fruits of the labour that he's putting in, the foundations he's laying, because there's a lot of good young players out on that pitch, that I actually enjoy watching."

Neville, who won eight Premier League titles in his career, added: "Ole's going to have to be selfish, he's going to have that ruthless streak that a [Jose] Mourinho has, or [Antonio] Conte has, and spend the club's money to protect himself.

"Put two or three experienced players in amongst that group and they could come alive."

Manchester United battled back from two goals down to lead 3-2 on Sunday, only for Oli McBurnie to score a late equaliser for the hosts, which Neville claimed further proves his point about a lack of leaders in the team.

"I've come to conclude two things. One, they haven't got senior players setting the standard of them, letting them know the expectation of what is required in a football team. 

"They haven't got the leaders and the people around them. When I first broke into the team, I had people who set the standard.

"There is one more big thing - they don't know how to approach a Premier League away game, they don't understand that it's different playing at Old Trafford than it is away from home and they haven't got the experience or maturity."

Mauricio Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham last week and has been strongly linked as a contender to replace Solskjaer, but Neville is unsure whether it is time to make a change.

"Personally, two and a half years ago when Louis van Gaal got sacked by Manchester United, I said Mauricio Pochettino should have been appointed before Jose Mourinho, so I can't sit here now and say he won't be the right person for the football club.

"But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was appointed eight months ago, the club have taken a different track."

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