Could it be a case of third-time lucky for Manchester United in their pursuit of Mauricio Pochettino? The Red Devils cannot afford to pass up another chance to land the Argentinian coach if a window of opportunity really is opening up again.
The South American tactician has been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford in the past, but the stars have not aligned for a heavyweight Premier League outfit as yet. For them, there has always been a serious obstacle to overcome.
Back in December 2018, when a decision to part company with Jose Mourinho was taken, Pochettino was firmly tied to a long-term contract at Tottenham and was in the process of guiding them to a surprise Champions League final appearance.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reins in Manchester, but speculation regarding a familiar target was never far away when the going got tough for a relatively inexperienced Norwegian.
There was a time when Pochettino was very much available, following his severing of ties at Spurs, but United delayed big decisions in their dugout to the point that Paris Saint-Germain stole in and forced the hand of those in England.
Welcome Mauricio Pochettino 👋pic.twitter.com/Fr4ZgKxhNI— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 2, 2021
The Red Devils eventually bid farewell to Solskjaer, with Ralf Rangnick appointed as his successor on an interim basis through to the end of the 2021-22 season, when a consultancy role will be taken up. He is destined to head upstairs this summer but needs to deliver in the present as the football bets on top-four finishes have United slipping to 9/4.
So, decisive action is required from this point, with Rangnick needing to get Cristiano Ronaldo and Co singing from the same hymn sheet as Champions League qualification and potential major silverware is chased down.
Who will be next?
The challenge right now is to put foundations in place on which long-term success can be built. That project will not be completed in a matter of weeks, but a side struggling to replicate the achievements of its recent past can start to head in the right direction once more.
Pochettino will be fully aware of the potential on offer at the Theatre of Dreams, with the right key required in order for that to be fully unlocked. He has proven himself at the very highest level, working with the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe in France, and knows all about the demands of English football.
With questions being asked of his ongoing presence at Parc des Princes, as a star-studded squad in Paris discovers that games are not won by names on paper, a retracing of professional steps makes plenty of sense.
Old Trafford from the sky is something else 🤯 pic.twitter.com/AWvYmlKORx— GOAL (@goal) January 6, 2022
United should be preparing to throw open their doors to a former foe, with talks already said to be taking place behind the scenes. They require inspiration from somewhere, on and off the field, and are approaching another important crossroads.
It is one they have faced before, but this time they are dictating their own future. Pochettino has been passed up in the past and the Red Devils must avoid heading down that road again if they really are to start rebuilding the house that Sir Alex Ferguson built.