Poch ‘so happy’ at PSG and will ignore Man Utd ‘rumours’

Mauricio Pochettino has said he is “so happy” at Paris Saint-Germain and will not allow Manchester United’s interest to distract him from his current role.

Pochettino remains United’s first choice this summer, but the club are not ruling out the possibility of making an earlier move for the Argentinian.

United are aware Pochettino has major issues with PSG sporting director Leonardo, but are also wary the former Tottenham boss has flirted with the idea of moving to Old Trafford before.

Speaking in Manchester ahead of PSG’s Champions League match at Manchester City, Pochettino said: “I am focused. I am very focused on football. I am not a child, I spend my whole life playing football, and now my 12th year being coach, we’re in a business that the rumours are there. I understand what is going on.

“This kind of thing cannot distract. Rumours are there, we need to live with that. We are so focused, giving 100 per cent to get our best from the club and the players. I am so happy at Paris Saint-Germain, for tomorrow we are so focused to get the best results we can.”

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says ‘you can be a top manager and not win titles’ with Pochettino linked to the Manchester United job, despite the Argentinian having never won a league title

Pochettino took charge at PSG in January and pointed out his current contract runs out at the end of the 2022-23 season.

He added: “What another club are doing is not my business, I need to be focused on PSG. I’m not going to make the mistake of talking. You know everything we’ll say, it was in the past when at Espanyol when I said my dream was to meet Sir Alex (Ferguson), anything I say now is going to be misunderstood and out of context. I was a PSG player. I love the club. I love the fans. We are fighting in Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

“My contract is to 2023. This season and one season more. I don’t say nothing different. I am very happy at PSG. That is a fact.”

Meanwhile, United are continuing their search for an interim manager and have had numerous expressions of interest, with Michael Carrick in caretaker charge for the time being – including their Champions League tie with Villarreal this evening.

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In this Off Script, Gary Neville gives his thoughts on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking and the current culture at Manchester United

How much would Man Utd have to pay PSG for Poch?

United would have to pay £8.4m if they want to prise Pochettino away from PSG, according to French football expert Jonathan Johnson.

“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 Argentinian.

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Former Manchester United players Mark Hughes and Paul Parker both give their support to Pochettino becoming the permanent manager of the club

“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.”

‘Ronaldo signing threw plan out the window’

Paul Merson believes the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo threw Solskjaer’s United plan “out of the window”.

“I feel sorry for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,” Merson said. “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.

Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer approaches Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo at the end of the Champions League group F soccer match between Atalanta and Manchester United, at the Stadio di Bergamo, in Bergamo, Italy, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Image: Paul Merson said signing Cristiano Ronaldo changed Solskjaer’s plans at Manchester United

“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!'”

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