Mauricio Pochettino’s future as Saints boss is expected to become clearer this week, with Spurs set to accelerate their search for a new manager.
Tottenham sacked their previous coach, Tim Sherwood, within 48 hours of the season ending, but a replacement is still to be appointed at White Hart Lane, writes GORDON SIMPSON.
Pochettino, pictured, is the odds-on favourite for the job, but the north London club have so far held fire on making a final decision over who they wish to install.
It is understood the delay had partly been down to Spurs remaining intrigued by the situation of Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.
There were strong suggestions he would be dismissed had his side lost Saturday’s Champions League final to city rivals and newly-crowned La Liga winners Atletico Madrid.
However, Real’s dramatic extra-time triumph in Lisbon will almost certainly have assured that Ancelotti’s job at the Bernabéu remains safe.
With that situation settled, the indications are that Spurs will now attempt to move forward with the process of appointing Sherwood’s successor.
Pochettino is the firm favourite, but is not the only person to have been considered.
The other names seriously linked with Tottenham have been Ajax’s Frank de Boer, although it is said Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has gone increasingly cold on him, and former Liverpool and Chelsea boss Rafa Benítez, currently at Napoli.
Behind the scenes, Saints have for some weeks been well aware of the possibility of losing their manager to their Premier League rivals.
For their part, they are understood to have offered the 42-year-old, whose current contract is due to expire in a year’s time, a lucrative new deal to keep him at the club.
There still remains hope that he will sign that and stay at St Mary’s, but the longer Pochettino has put it off the greater the sense of unease has become, with the feeling being that the Argentine is waiting to see what develops at Tottenham before committing himself.
Saints midfielder James Ward-Prowse has admitted Pochettino’s departure would be an enormous loss.
“It would be a major blow to lose him – all the players love him,” he said.
The 19-year-old added: “None of us want to see him go. He is a fantastic manager and he has done really well.”
Saints winger Omar Rowe, 19, has signed a one-year contract extension with the club.