Mauricio Pochettino ‘is plotting a sensational return to Tottenham this summer if Antonio Conte departs having stayed on good terms with Daniel Levy’… as doubt continues over the Italian’s future in north London
- Spurs boss Antonio Conte has been linked with a return to Italy this summer
- If he does depart, Mauricio Pochettino reportedly wants to coach the club again
- The Argentine was sacked in 2019 but has stated his desire for a comeback
Mauricio Pochettino is targeting an emotional return to Tottenham this summer if Antonio Conte leaves the club, according to reports.
The Argentine was sacked in 2019 following a torrid run off the back of their Champions League final defeat to Liverpool but has made no secret of his desire for another shot at the job.
Sportsmail reported this week that Conte looks increasingly likely to exit his role at the end of the season. His contract is ending in June and Spurs have the option to extend it by 12 months, but sources have indicated there is little appetite to do so.
The team are now left in just one cup competition – the Champions League, where they are trailing 1-0 from the first leg against AC Milan.
The Italian has also suffered a difficult campaign off the pitch. He has been forced to undergo surgery on his gallbladder and has missed a handful of matches while he recovers. He has also been mourning the deaths of fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone and close friends Sinisa Mihajlovic and Gianluca Vialli.
Mauricio Pochettino is plotting a sensational return to Tottenham this summer, reports claim
Antonio Conte has been strongly linked with an exit after a difficult season with Tottenham
With clubs in Italy said to be eyeing up Conte this summer, Pochettino now has the Tottenham hotseat in his sights, according to the Times, having kept on good terms with chairman Daniel Levy.
The two shared a close relationship during Pochettino’s five year stint in north London – beginning in 2014 – and the Argentine is one of the names being considered by Spurs to replace Conte, the report adds.
Pochettino is thought to still live at the Hertfordshire address he stayed at during his time as Spurs boss and he would be a popular appointment having build up a strong rapport with fans and played exciting, attacking football.
However, there could be opposition to Pochettino’s appointment from sporting director Fabio Paratici, whose last two managers – Nuno Espirito Santo and Conte – both played with a back-three, with Pochettino favouring a back four.
Indeed, there has been strong murmurs of discontent among the Spurs faithful about the negative brand of football seen under Conte – with those voices growing after the team were dumped out of the FA Cup by Sheffield United.
Since leaving Tottenham, Pochettino has had one stint – an 18-month spell with PSG, where he won Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France before being sacked after a disappointing campaign in the Champions League.
Pochettino was a hugely popular figure among fans before he was sacked from his post in 2019
He took Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019 – losing to Liverpool – and was also involved in two title races, but never won a trophy
Speaking to BT Sport in 2020, Pochettino made it clear he wanted another chance of managing the club in the future – saying it was his ‘dream’ to finish what he started after narrowly missing out on the Champions League trophy and coming second to Chelsea in the 2016-17 season.
‘Deep in my chest, my soul, my heart – I am sure that we will cross [paths] again,’ he said. ‘From the day that I left the club, my dream is to be back and to try to finish the work that we didn’t finish. We were so close to winning the right trophies, the Premier League and the Champions League.
‘Maybe in five years, maybe in 10 years, and now I’m going to conspire with the universe and to throw out the idea that before I die, I want to manage Tottenham again and try if possible to win one title.
‘I still feel that it’s my club, my place,’ he said. ‘I think when you really feel with the commitment and when you feel the people give everything to try to be successful, and they treat you really, really good how they treat us, it’s impossible to forget that. That is why I think Tottenham is always going to be a special club for me.’