December 18, 2018 / 11:27 AM / 5 months ago

Soccer: Pochettino bookmakers' hot favourite to take over at United

LONDON (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino emerged on Tuesday as hot favourite to succeed Jose Mourinho, sacked as coach of Manchester United.

FILE PHOTO: Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino at Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - December 11, 2018. Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs/File Photo

Pochettino has been seen as a long-term target for United because of his preference for attacking football and nurturing young talent, neither of which has been much in evidence at the club since the departure of Alex Ferguson in 2013.

With the Portuguese gone, United may make their move for the Spurs boss, who has taken his club to consecutive top-three finishes but has yet to bring a trophy to North London.

The Argentine was offered at odds of 2/1 against — meaning one chance in three — within minutes of Mourinho’s sacking.

Pochettino is closely followed at 4/1 against by former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane, who led the Spanish side to three successive Champions League titles.

However, rival bookmakers had former United defender and France manager Laurent Blanc emerging as the frontrunner with some putting him EVENS, down from 12/1, ahead of Pochettino.

The Frenchman spent two years at Old Trafford from 2001, making 75 appearances, and has been out of work since leaving Ligue 1 side Paris St Germain in 2016.

Former United midfielder Michael Carrick, now a coach at the club, is quoted at 10/1, just behind former Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, on 9/1.

It may be strange for some United fans to countenance but former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is at 20/1, the same as Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe.

United said they would appoint a caretaker while conducting a thorough recruitment process for a new full-time manager. Italian Antonio Conte (12/1) is out of work and previously succeeded Mourinho at Chelsea, going on to win the title.

Pochettino would be an expensive capture as he signed a new five-year deal at Spurs this year reportedly worth around 8.5 million pounds ($11 million).

The Tottenham coach also said last week that he was happy at the club and looking forward to leading them into their new stadium next year and into the Champions League last-16 where they face Borussia Dortmund in February.

($1 = 0.7903 pounds)

Reporting by Christian Radnedge; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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