As if the Manchester United managerial saga needed another twist, the name of Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino began circulating again this week.
What caused the revival of said rumour, is that Pochettino was pictured meeting the Manchester United legend in London this week, with Ferguson’s old side in town to face West Ham United, a match they subsequently lost to put their top four hopes – and manager Louis van Gaal’s Old Trafford future – in serious jeopardy.
Sir Alex Ferguson in London today to have lunch with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino. (Source: Daily Mail) pic.twitter.com/Zkun9GEHIu
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) May 10, 2016
Though Pochettino has since claimed that the meeting was no more than a social engagement, the rumour wheel is hard to stop once it begins rolling. The fact that Ferguson rates the Spurs boss as the best manager in the Premier League led many to believe that the meeting was a mission of persuasion rather than a courteous rendezvous.
Tottenham will finish above Manchester United for the second time in three years this weekend, so while they were always confident that their manager’s head would not be turned, it will still be a massive source of relief to fans to see that the club has today responded to the speculation by announcing that Pochettino and his staff have signed five year contract extensions.
BREAKING: Mauricio has signed a contract extension committing his future to the Club as Manager until 2021. pic.twitter.com/0gifUu1C7O
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 12, 2016
In only his second season at White Hart Lane, Pochettino has guided Spurs back to the Champions League for the first time since 2010. Despite the fact that he has the youngest squad in the league at his disposal, the team has shown a level of maturity way beyond their years, with a number of their young stars – such as Harry Kane and Dele Alli – set to star for their countries at this summer’s European Championships off the back of a fantastic season with their club.
— Simone Bottaro (@SimoBottaro) April 24, 2016
In a statement on the club’s website, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy expressed his delight at the news, saying:
“Everyone at the Club is delighted he has agreed an extended contract and we all look forward to working with him in the coming seasons. I know he is as ambitious for our Club as we all are.”
Pochettino himself added to the sentiment, insisting that the decision to commit his future to the club until 2021 was an easy one for both himself and his backroom team:
“I could not be happier to sign this new contract. It was an easy decision for my coaching staff and I because we can feel the appreciation of everyone here – there is no better place to be right now.
“This club has all the ingredients to continue to challenge at the very top in both the Premier League and in Europe and we want to be here to be a part of what I believe will be a special period in the Club’s history.”
With speculation mounting over the future of Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal – particularly if he fails to guide the club into the Champions League this weekend (as looks likely) – Ed Woodward will undoubtedly be slightly perturbed to realise that a potential replacement – however fanciful that notion might have been – has been lost.