Mauricio Pochettino has already laid the foundations for his departure from Tottenham as reports link him with the vacant Real Madrid manager’s role, according to former Manchester United defender Gary Neville.
Spurs lost 1-0 to Manchester City at Wembley on Monday, a result that leaves them fifth in the Premier League, five points behind Pep Guardiola’s men.
The club failed to spend any money whatsoever in the summer, not recruiting a single player, while the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea both spent over £100 million ($131.5m).
The Reds and the Blues, along with City, are unbeaten thus far this season, with the title race likely to feature at least three key players.
And Neville thinks that, eventually, Pochettino will want to join a club that can give him the resources he needs to compete at the very top of the game, whether that is in England or further afield as rumours persist that he could replace Julen Lopetegui at Santiago Bernabeu.
“Pochettino has always peddled the party line well,” Neville said on Sky Sports ahead of the encounter with City.
“We know what Tottenham are like in terms of being quite conservative and pragmatic with spending and they do what they can, but he has always managed things well and pushed away questions about why can’t you spend like other clubs do.
“Pochettino is a brilliant coach but at some point, he was always going to want to manage one of the super clubs in Europe.
“There are a couple at the moment that you can imagine will be changing manager in the next 12 months and looking at him, and he will know they are looking at him.
“It feels to me that he has laid the first foundations for a move away from the club and started to prepare the ground.”
He added after the match: “I said before the game it’s the first bricks in the foundations of potentially wanting to leave and during the game tonight the Real Madrid coach has been sacked.
“If you are Real Madrid and you are thinking ‘Where can I get a manager, where’s the next manager?’ He speaks Spanish and has been a coach in La Liga. That is an appealing job for anybody in world football.
“He took the job knowing Daniel Levy, the board at the Tottenham, the restrictions, so my view is that now he probably wants that next level of job because he deserves it as he is a brilliant coach.
“That next level is available at arguably the greatest club in the world of football in Real Madrid.
“That’s where the manager might be thinking ‘is this now the time for me to step out?’ I think Tottenham if Real Madrid wants him, will have a real problem in the next few days.
“I don’t think they do, we are just putting two and two together, but we spoke about the timing of his comments, and is the timing because a job has become available?”
Spurs are currently playing their home games at Wembley, with their new stadium yet to be built, while they are also on the verge of elimination from the Champions League.
And Pochettino has readily admitted that he is unhappy with the way the season is unfolding.
“The season so far, it’s strange because my feeling is the worst feeling I’ve had in the five years that I’ve been here,” Pochettino told reporters. “It’s the worst. My feeling, but it’s the best start ever for the club in the Premier League. It’s strange, no?
“I don’t know, it’s so difficult to explain because many things happen, I am disappointed we are still waiting for the new stadium when the expectation was to be there at the beginning of the season.”
Spurs are back in action on Wednesday as they face West Ham in the Carabao Cup before their next Premier League fixture on Saturday at Wolves.