Mauricio Pochettino: How much would Manchester United have to pay in compensation for PSG boss?
Manchester United will have to pay £8.4m if they want to prise Mauricio Pochettino away from Paris Saint-Germain, according to French football expert Jonathan Johnson.
Pochettino is interested in replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford and he is Manchester United’s first choice to take over permanently from the Norwegian, who was sacked on Sunday.
The Argentine was appointed at PSG on an initial 18-month deal in January but is now contracted to the Ligue 1 club until the summer of 2023 after the option of an extra year was activated.
PSG are 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 but Johnson believes United could “bring PSG to the table” if they were to pay up the rest of Pochettino’s contract, especially given former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane could be available as a potential replacement.
“No move has been made by any party at this time – that’s my understanding,” he told Sky Sports News. “But if United were to knock on PSG’s door, willing to pay the full compensation for Pochettino – which I believe is upwards of €10m [£8.4m] – then that might bring PSG to the table.
“PSG are aware that there might be another candidate interested in replacing Pochettino in Zinedine Zidane, who would probably be the only viable candidate for PSG for any potential succession of the Argentine.
“There’s not going to be a repeat of last year, when PSG sacked Thomas Tuchel mid-season. From a sporting point of view, it’s impossible to justify because of the results that the team is getting on the pitch, and also from a financial point of view, because the compensation would be even greater than that of the German.
“The only real option is for United to come to PSG and say that they are willing to pay out the entire duration of his contract.”
PSG are on course to regain the Ligue 1 title and Pochettino’s immediate focus is on their next match against Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.
However, Johnson feels “strained relations” between Pochettino and the club’s sporting director Leonardo, as well as his family not being based in Paris, suggest the former Tottenham boss would not be at the Parc des Princes in the long term regardless of any interest from United.
“It’s not been the easiest of times for Mauricio Pochettino and PSG since they teamed up about 12 months ago,” he said. “There are strained relations with Pochettino on a day-to-day basis at PSG, notably with sporting director Leonardo.
“Also his adaptation back to living in France – of course he played for PSG and captained the team as a player – has not been straightforward. He regularly avoids speaking French where possible, and that’s felt in some quarters as a minimal effort being made on his part. His family are not based in Paris with him either.
“The option was taken up on his contract over the summer, so he’s now under contract until 2023. But there is an increasing feeling in Paris that Pochettino and PSG is not something that’s going to last long term. Even if he was to see out this current season, he probably would not be in charge the following one.”
Paul Merson believes the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo threw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United plan “out of the window”.
“I feel sorry for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He had a plan at the start of the season, having finished second last season. He’s chased Jadon Sancho for a long time, got him in, and he’s given Edinson Cavani another year.
“You could see his plan: you play Cavani every other game, you have Sancho on one side, Marcus Rashford on the other, you have Mason Greenwood coming in and swapping around, you have pace, power, energy, youth, skill, the lot.
“Then, just before the season starts, he gets given Ronaldo. I think he’s thrown it all out of the window. From day one, they’re not a better team with Ronaldo in it.
“You don’t go 29 games unbeaten away without playing a certain way, and bringing Sancho in gave them another weapon to play that way. With Ronaldo up there, you don’t have that weapon to play on the counter-attack any more. And Bruno Fernandes was their best player last season – he’s hardly had a touch this season!
“It’s all snowballed for Solskjaer. He had a plan, and the Ronaldo situation threw it all out of the window, just before the season started. They only went for him because they heard Man City were after him. It’s not like United were calling Juventus to ask if he’s available because Ronaldo is the missing link for United winning the Premier League. He isn’t!
“They thought: ‘We can’t let him go to Man City – it’s bad enough them finishing above us every year in the league anyway!'”