Pep Guardiola has warned Real Madrid that their chances of landing potential managerial target Mauricio Pochettino are slim, noting that Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is a tough negotiator.
The current Spurs manager has been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu for some time, while the seemingly imminent departure of current Bernabeu incumbent Julen Lopetegui has reignited some speculation over Pochettino's future.
However, one man who isn't convinced Pochettino will leave for the Spanish capital any time soon is Pep Guardiola. The two managers face off on Monday night, when Tottenham play with Manchester City and the Catalan manager has expressed his respect for his opposite number, who he thinks will be a difficult man prise away from Spurs.
“I think he [Pochettino] is already a top coach,” Guardiola said, as quoted by the Evening Standard. “For many years he is training at a high level.
“He did an incredible job at Espanyol and Southampton and especially here at Tottenham. I have a lot of respect of the job he has done in his career so he is already a reality as a manager, no doubt.
“He has been linked many times with Real Madrid. He can answer that question - but I don’t know what happens. What I think is Mr Levy is not an easy guy to negotiate with.”
Despite reports suggesting the European champions could come calling for him by the end of the season, Lilywhites fans will hope Levy remains firm on his desire to keep Pochettino in north London.
The club extended the 46-year-old's contract in May and will be eager for him to see it out, with silverware very much the primary target.