Manchester United are reportedly willing to pay a significant compensation fee to land Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino, even if they have to spend more than the £34 million value still attached to his current deal.
According to James Robson of the London Evening Standard, Pochettino remains a strong candidate to take the reins at the club next season, despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's excellent work as interim boss so far.
The report states Solskjaer could earn the full-time position on his own merit and doesn't highlight Pochettino as the favourite at this point. Juventus' Massimiliano Allegri and Zinedine Zidane, who left Real Madrid last summer, are also mentioned as candidates.
Solskjaer's excellent work so far―United have suffered just a single defeat under his guidance―has led to "growing support" for the Norwegian, providing the Red Devils with a cost-efficient candidate who would earn the job on his "credentials," rather than the fact he would be cheaper.
But the cost attached to Pochettino won't stop United from trying to land him if he's deemed the right man. The Argentinian once again showed off his abilities in Tottenham's 3-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in midweek, engineering a remarkable second-half surge.
The performance drew widespread praise:
While Solskjaer has barely set a foot wrong, Pochettino has a far more extensive track record and would likely be a safer option. He was seen as the favourite to land the job following Jose Mourinho's departure, and Molde have said they expect Solskjaer to return after his interim spell with the Red Devils, per the Daily Mail's Adam Crafton.
The midweek loss against Paris Saint-Germain took some of the wind out off Solskjaer's sails, although sportswriter Oliver Holt thought the notion he had ruined his chances of earning the job was ridiculous:
Allegri and Zidane haven't been discussed as options as much, but that will likely change toward the end of the season.
The latter emerged as a world-class midfielder at Juventus and impressed with his work with Cristiano Ronaldo in Madrid, leading to reports he could be in line to replace the former in Turin, per Tuttosport (h/t Football Italia).
Such a scenario would see Allegri free to take the United job, and with his recent success in Turin in mind, he would be a strong candidate. Likewise, Zidane could eye a move to Old Trafford if a return to the Bianconeri is not a possibility.