SPORT: Football
Mauricio Pochettino wants to be the number one choice to sign for Manchester United.

Pochet­ti­no would need to feel that he is at the top of the club’s list of can­di­dates before agree­ing to a move to Old Traf­ford next season.

The Argen­tine’s time at Paris Saint-Ger­main is com­ing to an end after Wednes­day’s capit­u­la­tion against Real Madrid in the Cham­pi­ons League.

Furi­ous PSG own­er Nass­er Al-Khe­laifi is ready to sack the 50-year-old coach, who said after the game, “The gift is all I can han­dle.” As for the future, what will be will be.

Pochet­ti­no will have no short­age of offers if he leaves PSG and wants the assur­ance that Unit­ed will con­sid­er him as their first choice.

Unit­ed were linked with Pochet­ti­no after sack­ing Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer in Novem­ber, but it will be a sim­pler process if he is out of a job and won’t involve pay­ing a fee.

The for­mer Tot­ten­ham boss wants to return to Eng­land after liv­ing in a Paris hotel for the past 14 months while his fam­i­ly has remained in London.

How­ev­er, Old Traf­ford sources have con­firmed that Ten Hag, 52, has become a real rival for the job.

Ajax will not stand in his way if he is offered the role, and Sports­mail revealed last week that he has start­ed tak­ing Eng­lish lessons.

Unit­ed’s inter­im man­ag­er Ralf Rang­nick has not giv­en up on get­ting the job — although he has pub­licly played down his inter­est — but it seems unlikely.

The uncer­tain­ty of who will be in charge next sea­son would have a neg­a­tive effect on the players.

Unit­ed host Tot­ten­ham on Sat­ur­day fac­ing a des­per­ate task to fin­ish in the top four.

Cris­tiano Ronal­do, in par­tic­u­lar, would be per­plexed that Unit­ed have cho­sen to appoint an inter­im coach.

Ronal­do’s rela­tion­ship with Rang­nick is under scruti­ny after he missed the Man­ches­ter der­by with a hip injury and flew to Por­tu­gal amid spec­u­la­tion he would have been on the bench anyway.

Ronal­do, 37, has yet to prove his fit­ness for Sat­ur­day’s game, and doubts are grow­ing about whether he will be at Unit­ed next season.

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