It’s fast approaching a year since Mauricio Pochettino was last seen in the dugout.
Few would have thought that come Autumn 2020 the Argentine would still be without a job, but while that’s the scenario that’s played out, there are whispers that he could return before Winter arrives.
Since leaving Tottenham he’s been linked with Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG, both Manchester clubs, Borussia Dortmund, AC Milan, and of course Real Madrid, with rumours of a move to the latter once again simmering ahead of this weekend’s El Clasico.
Zinedine Zidane may have lifted the La Liga title in his first full season back at the helm of Los Blancos - which he added to his three Champions League triumphs and previous league title - but history tells us that a Real Madrid manager is never more than a few poor results away from the chop.
That’s regardless of their previous success and legendary status at the club.
Last weekend Real suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at home to La Liga new boys Cadiz, which was followed by a 3-2 reverse at home to Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League - a match they were losing 3-0 at half-time.
El Clasico away to Barcelona.
Real Madrid are now facing up to the prospect of losing three successive competitive games for the first time since March 2019, when they lost twice at home to Barcelona and were hammered 4-1 by Ajax (also at home), which spelled the end for boss Santiago Solari.
Real have never been beaten three times in a row under Zidane.
Destination Real Madrid?
Spanish outlet AS are now reporting that Real are now already discussing other managerial options. If this is the case, then Pochettino will inevitably be under consideration - he’s currently the 7/4 favourite in the next Real Madrid manager market.
"I don't know if I'll ever coach Madrid, but of course it's my dream,” Pochettino told Cadena COPE in September. "If it's not the best it's one of the best clubs in the world. I'm no different, everyone has it on their dream list."
If that’s not opening a door for a move, we’re not sure what is.
Pochettino, then at Spurs, previously rejected a switch in 2018 following Zidane’s surprise exit, but now his circumstances have changed somewhat, he’d no doubt jump at the chance to jet to the Spanish capital, should a vacancy arise.
Alternatively, if Zidane did depart, Real could look for within and appoint the current Castilla head coach Raul, a post Zidane previously held before upgrading to the first team in January 2016.