By 90Min
January 26, 2018

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has Mauricio Pochettino - and nobody else - on his shortlist to replace current manager Zinedine Zidane.

That is according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, who told Sky Sports News: "Pochettino is top of Real Madrid's wanted list; he is number one, number two, number three and number four for Florentino Perez."

Pochettino has received plaudits worldwide for his work in English football, with both Southampton and Tottenham. His efforts to transform Spurs into a side regularly contending for a top four spot have also previously attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain, while the man himself has ruled out ever managing Barcelona.

On Real Madrid's interest in Pochettino, Balague continued: "He [Florentino Perez] definitely wants Pochettino, there's no doubt about that. I'm pretty sure Mauricio and Spurs know that themselves, but it doesn't mean anything.

"Pochettino has often said his future does not depend on him and there's truth in that.

"Before he signed a contract extension in May 2016 he had a buy-out clause that Real Madrid could have activated.

"Now there is no buy-out clause, so for Pochettino to move to Real Madrid they would have to convince Daniel Levy, something Real won't be able to do."

The move is not a certainty by any means, regardless of Daniel Levy's stubbornness. Pochettino has plenty of incentives to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.

"There are a lot of reasons for Pochettino to stay at Spurs," added Balague.

"You only have to look at the way he speaks inside the club with Daniel Levy, convincing players to sign new contracts and, of course, there is the new stadium next season.

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

"But that doesn't stop Perez having him as first, second, third or fourth choice for the future."

This fresh speculation from Balague will undoubtedly add fuel to the fire over Harry Kane's future. The England striker has been the subject of widely reported interest from Real Madrid in recent months, and that looks unlikely to slow down now that Real Madrid's interest in Mauricio Pochettino has been reported.

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