It was six years ago last month when Mauricio Pochettino and his assistant Jesus Perez were spotted having lunch with Sir Alex Ferguson at Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair.

It was an informal meeting between Manchester United’s most decorated manager, a club ambassador, and the then Tottenham boss.

The pair played down the optics, despite the doubts concerning the future of incumbent United manager Louis van Gaal. It is a footballing relationship that has never come about.

Ferguson and Pochettino have struck up an acquaintance from attending League Managers Association dinners and have spoken publicly of their mutual respect and admiration as top managers and coaches in the game.

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Pochettino was appointed head coach in January 2021

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After his shock departure from Tottenham in November 2019, there was sentiment for his return to football at Paris Saint-Germain in January 2021, as Thomas Tuchel’s successor at the Parc des Princes.

“I’m happy and honoured to take on the role as the club has always held a special place in my heart,” said Pochettino, who played 95 times at PSG as a player.

“I return to the club today with a lot of ambition and humility and am eager to work with some of the world’s most talented players.

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Erik ten Hag beat Pochettino to the Man Utd job

“We will also do our utmost to give our team the combative and attacking playing identity that Parisian fans have always loved.”

But it was fulfilling this identity and managing a dressing room brimming with such talent that proved Pochettino’s biggest challenge.

Despite winning the 2021 Coupe de France and 2022 Ligue 1 title, his failure to bring UEFA Champions League glory is thought to be the reason he is leaving the club.

Pochettino now finds himself at a crossroads with no obvious route as he reflects on his time in Paris.

Analysis: ‘PSG a difficult club to manage’

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Kylian Mbappe is staying at Paris Saint-Germain

Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour:

“Mauricio Pochettino won’t be at PSG next season, that is for certain. That follows a meeting between Pochettino and the club last week. The outcome of that was pretty much mutual. Everyone agreed that now was the right time for Pochettino to move on.

“The final details of that departure are being finalised and that could go on for a few days, possibly a week. He won that all-important trophy – it was something that was thrown at him as Spurs manager.

“He won the French title and did that by 15 points. It was the largest margin in any of the top five leagues, but it’s a very political club, with a lot of high earners.

“If you look at the calibre of players you get to work with at PSG, there have been fewer more exciting collections of footballers assembled at one club in the entire history of the game.

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Lionel Messi looks dejected after PSG's defeat to Real Madrid

“There can’t be many managers who wouldn’t want an opportunity to work with Mbappe, Messi, Neymar, Verratti and many others.

“If you look at the profile of coaches that have left PSG in recent years, or have been deemed to have failed, all of them have gone on to achieve impressive things since leaving.

“It suggests PSG is a very difficult club to manage. There are lots of voices competing for influence behind the scenes and whoever comes in to replace Pochettino is going to have to deal with that and hope it doesn’t undermine things.

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With PSG set to finalise the departure of Mauricio Pochettino as their head coach French Football expert Tom Williams suggest his exit will come as no surprise

“It’s very difficult for any manager to manage that dressing room but he’ll look at the records of managers who have left PSG and gone on to have success.

“Carlo Ancelotti and Unai Emery have both gone on to have plenty of success. Thomas Tuchel has won the Champions League, the Club World Cup and individual awards at Chelsea. As much as it’s been difficult, Pochettino will leave reflecting on those good points.

“The Champions League is the competition the Qatari owners crave but they’ve only been in the semi-finals twice in the last 10 years.

How have previous managers coped post-PSG?

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Failure to bring Champions League glory was decisive

Carlo Ancelotti – 1x Copa del Rey (2014), 1x Champions League (2014), 1x Super Cup (2014), FIFA Club World Cup (2014), 1x Bundesliga (2017), 1x La Liga (2022), 1x Champions League finalist (2022)

Unai Emery – 1x Europa League finalist (2019), 1x Europa League (2021), 1x Champions League semi-finalist (2022)

Thomas Tuchel – 1x Champions League (2021), 1x Super Cup (2021), 1x UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year (2021), 1x The Best FIFA Football Coach (2021), 1x FIFA Club World Cup (2021)

Will Pochettino return to Premier League?

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How Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham team aged during the course of his time at the club

Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour:

“I think that would be his preferred destination. Pochettino has made no secret of the fact he wants to return to the Premier League in future.

“He held talks with Manchester United, who decided to go a different way and appoint Erik ten Hag, but Pochettino certainly has his eye on Premier League football again.

“There’s no obvious vacancy at the moment but it’s a league that means a lot to him. Football can be unpredictable and we just wait to see what happens there. From what we’re being told, he’s not actively looking at the moment but just focused on finalising his PSG departure.

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Pochettino will want to rediscover the sparkle of his Spurs team in 2017/18

Pochettino departure at PSG will be ‘no surprise’

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Pochettino won the Coupe de France and Ligue 1 title

French football expert Tom Williams speaking on Sky Sports News about Pochettino’s impending PSG exit:

“It’s no surprise. This has been coming for months. You can go back to last summer even; there were approaches made to Pochettino from Tottenham about a return to north London.

“We knew he wasn’t entirely happy at PSG. He wasn’t entirely happy in Paris. He spent a long time living in a hotel, which didn’t help matters.

“Over the course of this season, even with PSG streaking towards the Ligue 1 title, things haven’t felt right.

“Things haven’t clicked; the football has been appalling. The feeling has been for a long time that Pochettino was not going to continue beyond this summer.

“The fact that we have appeared to arrive at the point of his departure now is not going to surprise anyone.”

Who are the candidates to replace Pochettino?

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Jose Mourinho has been linked with the vacancy

Sky Sports News reporter Paul Gilmour:

“Zinedine Zidane has been the name in the frame for quite some time. What has changed, however, is that Luis Campos has come in as the football advisor to replace Leonardo. There’s been a need to do things differently.

“They want to get back an identity and there have been fan protests in Paris at times this season. They clearly want to get that connection going again and that’s why Christophe Galtier is a name that’s come into the frame.

“Jose Mourinho has also been mentioned, but he’s happy at Roma.”

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