Mauricio Pochettino on Athletic Bilbao managerial shortlist

Mauricio Pochettino has emerged as a shock managerial candidate at Athletic Club Bilbao, according to a report in Marca.

Athletic Club’s interest is spiked by the precarious position of the current incumbent Gaizko Garitano, with the team picking up just nine points from their opening eight games in La Liga.

Former Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde and Valencia boss Marcelino Garcia Toral are also said to be in the frame should the club decide to move on the under-pressure Garitano, but it is the name of Pochettino who is the shock inclusion.

It is acknowledged that the Argentine’s salary demands and potential for the interest from elite European clubs may make an appointment tricky, but the interest is real.

Marca cite Pochettino as previously saying on Athletic Club: “Athletic is an exciting role model, which generates enormous respect for everything that they represent.

“The merit that Athletic has is enormous, with a commitment that reaches the limits.”

Pochettino has been out of work since leaving Tottenham in November 2019 – where he was sacked following a prolonged run of poor form and replaced by Jose Mourinho.

The Argentine – who first came to coaching prominence at Espanyol – is widely regarded as one of football’s finest coaches and his prolonged break from the game means that he will be strongly linked to any vacancies that open up at elite clubs in the coming months.

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