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Real Madrid join Tottenham in race for Mauricio Pochettino

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Real Madrid have identified Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino as a perfect long-term replacement for Zinedine Zidane.

After months of speculation, Zidane decided to call time on his second stint in Madrid on Thursday, leaving a vacancy only a handful of managers can fill.

One of them is Pochettino, who has experienced a rather torrid six-month spell in Paris after replacing Thomas Tuchel in January.

PSG sacked the German tactician in the midst of the side’s rough patch and opted for the ex-Tottenham boss to take over the reins at the Parc des Princes.

However, the move has not worked out as expected, with Les Parisiens suffering a heartbreaking Champions League exit to Manchester City in the semi-finals.

Paris’ underwhelming campaign culminated with a domestic heartache as Lille defeated them to the Ligue 1 title in a keenly-contested race.

It has been only the second time that PSG failed to win the league crown since the wealthy Qatari owners purchased the club in 2011.

There is currently a big question mark over how Pochettino fits into their plans, which prompted rumours about the Argentine’s premature departure.

Tottenham have already considered the 49-year-old as Daniel Levy looks for a household name to take the job following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

Ryan Mason did solid work as a caretaker manager, but Spurs are looking for a reliable long-term solution to help the club pick themselves up from a horrendous season.

Although recent reports claimed Pochettino was spotted in London amid growing speculations about his blockbuster return to Tottenham, Florentino Perez has other ideas.

The Madrid supremo initially named Massimiliano Allegri his preferred choice, but he seems destined to lose that race to Juventus.

The Bianconeri have already accelerated their interest in the Italian, whom they see as an upgrade on under-fire Andrea Pirlo.

According to Goal, Los Blancos have now shifted their attention towards Pochettino.

Poch first emerged as a potential solution for Madrid during his time at Tottenham. The La Liga powerhouse were actively looking for Julen Lopetegui’s successor at the time.

The deal failed to materialise then, but Los Merengues believe they can get it over the line this time around.

While convincing the Argentine to take over one of the most coveted jobs on the planet should not be a problem, persuading PSG to sanction the move will be a tricky part.

Pochettino’s contract in the French capital expires in summer 2022.

That puts the dethroned Ligue 1 champions in a strong bargaining position, meaning Madrid would have to shell out a significant compensation fee to get PSG to set the manager free.

The meeting between Madrid’s representatives and their French counterparts has already been scheduled as Perez looks determined to outplay the competition for Poch’s signature.

Read: Barcelona approach Lionel Messi’s father-agent with contract proposal.