As Mauricio Pochettino picks through the details of his new five-year Tottenham contract, the one he signed BEFORE he knew Zinedine Zidane was going to quit Real Madrid, the Mirror claims to have got its hands on a smudged photocopy of the document and declared the most important stipulation within it: no release clause.
Similarly, there is said to be “no verbal agreement” between Spurs and the Argentine that he can leave White Hart Lane for the Bernabeu.
This won’t stop the European champions trying to get him, of course. Real president Florentino Perez is reportedly ready to launch an “all-out pursuit” for Pochettino in the wake of Zidane’s shock resignation, although Spurs will demand a Daniel-Levy sized “massive transfer fee”.
In which case, the Sun suggests Perez could turn to another Premier League managerial legend instead. No, not Alan Pardew. It’s Jurgen Klopp.
The Liverpool boss has allegedly been identified as the “leading candidate” to take over from Zidane, although like Pochettino the German has a few years left on his Anfield contract and the Reds will fight “tooth and nail” to keep him.
The Telegraph says it seems “inevitable” that Real will approach Pochettino, but have earmarked Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri as “a more attainable target”, although the Italian is also under contract for another two years. Perhaps worth mentioning here, then, that Pardew is actually available – according to our sources – keen.
Chelsea want Zidane to replace Conte
Also available, let’s not forget, is Zizou. The three-time-Champions League-winning Frenchman leaves Madrid with his reputation enhanced by last week’s historic victory against Liverpool and could probably have any job he wants. Or he could go to Chelsea.
The Sun says the Blues will “target” the 45-year-old as a replacement for Antonio Conte, having becoming fed up with negotiating with Napoli over Maurizio Sarri’s release clause.
Owner Roman Abramovich is reportedly planning to ask Zidane if he wants an immediate return to management. If he says no (or more likely, says “Maybe but not at Chelsea, mate”) then the Mail predicts the Blues will approach another France legend, Laurent Blanc, about taking over from Conte. And if he also says no, Abramovich will ask – wait for it – Avram Grant.
Imagine trying to get Zidane as manager and ending up with Avram Grant.
Man Utd want Grealish and Mandzukic
There is also likely to be some movement among the playing staff at Stamford Bridge. Sky Sports reports the club have ended contract talks with goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and are “likely to sell” the Belgian this summer, with Roma’s Alisson lined up to replace him.
The Blues have also been offered the chance to take Gonzalo Higuain from Juventus in part-exchange for Alvaro Morata, according to the Standard.
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Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has drawn up a “10-man shortlist” of players he would like to sign, which contains the surprising inclusions of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Juve’s Mario Mandzukic (Express).
It also includes Ivan Perisic, Alex Sandro, Toby Alderweireld, Marko Arnautovic, Djibril Sidibe, Diego Dalot, Fred and Gareth Bale, although the Welshman could end up staying at Real Madrid following the departure of his nemesis Zidane.