It goes to show the high regard in which Mauricio Pochettino is held that he is being linked with clubs the size of Benfica.

But the Argentinian is expected to stay at St Mary’s, and that in turn shows the growing power of Saints.

Should Benfica, or a similar club, actually come calling at some stage there is an interesting dilemma for Pochettino, but he would be quite right to remain where he is.

Benfica are undoubtedly a big club in the European sense.

Going there would guarantee a shot at domestic titles and cups, and managing talents such as Oscar Cardoza, thanks in part to the dominance to just a few clubs in the Portuguese league.

Following that to its logical conclusion it also means a likely ticket to the Champions League every season.

That, of course, is considered the pinnacle of modern club management these days, and so any boss worth his salt would be interested.

However, Pochettino is no fool, and he knows he might be standing on the edge of something very exciting indeed at St Mary’s.

Firstly, at Saints he will compete in the Premier League, still considered by many to be the best division in the world, and the the most hight profile.

Barring a disastrous run of results, his stock is hardly likely to fall while he remains at that lofty level.

Secondly, there is the Saints project we have heard so much about.

Pochettino very publically positioned himself fully behind it when there was doubt over the future of executive chairman Nicola Cortese.

“When I first arrived here, nobody knew who Mauricio Pochettino was,” he said at the time.

“Nicola put his faith in me and knew me from way, way back.

“When I got to know his project, we were basically on the same wavelength as to what we wanted for Southampton in the future.

“Basically, my future in Southampton has to be with Nicola.”

Now that Cortese is staying, surely it logically follows that Pochettino, the man he believed in so much he was willing to take all the flak for sacking the popular Nigel Adkins, will stay loyal too. Pochettino after all was out of work when Cortese came calling, having been axed by Espanyol.

Between them, Cortese and Pochettino have plotted an exciting trajectory for Saints.

Cortese got his way with the Liebherrs, hence why he didn’t walk out on the club, and so lavish funding is expected to strengthen the club this summer.

Pochettino, pictured, has spoken quite openly about his desire for Champions League qualification next season, and at the very least that is the way Saints are looking to head in the years to come.

Benfica or the like could be a shortcut to that now, but would it really be as satisfying, as challenging, as what is on offer at Saints?

Surely, when all is said and done, Pochettino has landed in the right place.