One wonders how Florentino Perez reacted when he first heard the news of Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking as Tottenham Hotspur manager. After all, the Real Madrid president is known to be a big fan of the Argentine coach having twice tried, and failed, to lure him to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Just a few weeks ago, the news of Pochettino’s demise in North London would have sent speculation of a potential third attempt by Perez through the roof. Indeed, Real Madrid suffered a poor start to the season and after defeat to Real Mallorca a month ago it seemed that Zinedine Zidane was just more disappointing result away from being dismissed.
Since then, Real Madrid looked to have turned something of a corner. They have won four of their last five matches and have kept five consecutive clean sheets on the spin. Barcelona might still be top of La Liga, but there appears to be a greater sense of consistency around Zidane’s side at the moment.
For the time being, Zidane looks to be safe in his role, although there is no club more volatile than Real Madrid. Another poor run of results could see the Frenchman in trouble again and with Pochettino now free and available it might not take a lot to persuade Perez into making a managerial change.
Real Madrid could be pushed down this route through a heightened sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). Pochettino is so well regarded at the top of the European game that he has been tracked by a number of clubs over the past few years. Bayern Munich and Manchester United, for instance, are both known to be long-term fans of the Argentine.
Pochettino will now be looking for his next project. He is not a manager in the mould of someone like Jose Mourinho or even Pep Guardiola, both of whom have a limited expiry date of around three seasons at any given club. Instead, Pochettino will surely look for a club where he can make a long term impression.
The problem for Real Madrid is that if they miss out on Pochettino now they may have to wait another five years until he is available again. Do they see Zidane as a long term solution or just a short term fix? The answer to that could determine whether or not Perez uses Pochettino’s availability as a threat to his current manager.
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