Mauricio Pochettino 'open' to Tottenham return - and could bring Wilfried Zaha with him

Mauricio Pochettino
(Image credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)

Mauricio Pochettino would return for a second stint as Tottenham manager, according to one of his former Spurs colleagues, and the Argentine could make Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha one of his first signings.  

Pochettino is among the names being linked with the Spurs job after Antonio Conte’s furious rant against his players cast fresh doubt about the Italian’s long-term future in the role.  

Conte slammed his squad for being ‘selfish’ after a 3-3 Premier League draw with Southampton last weekend, saying: “I see only 11 players that play for themselves."

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte addresses the press conference after the 3-3 draw with Southampton

Antonio Conte threw his future into doubt with an exploside rant about Tottenham (Image credit: Sky Sports)

The former Inter Milan and Chelsea manager’s contract is up at the end of the season and he looks unlikely to stay in the job beyond that, with the likes of Pochettino, Julian Nagelsmann, Marco Silva and Ange Postecoglou being touted as potential successors. 

In an interview with The Sun, David Webb, a former head of player development at Tottenham who worked with Poch at Spurs and Southampton, said a return is possible.

“I don’t think that Poch wants to pigeon-hole himself solely to the Premier League,” said Webb.

“If a good offer were to come up in Spain or Germany, he’d be open to that, too.

“But the Premier League will always be his first choice. He was phenomenal at Tottenham — and would be open to it again.”

Wilfried Zaha

Zaha is out of contract this summer  (Image credit: Getty)

Pochettino led Spurs to the Champions League final during his first spell in charge, but was sacked in November 2019 after a poor start to the season. 

He has been out of a job since leaving PSG last summer, but Webb believes that the former Argentina international could revive old ideas if he returns to Spurs – like signing Zaha.

The Palace star is out of contract at the end of the season and it has been a difficult campaign for the south London club, who recently sacked manager Patrick Vieira after a poor run of form dragged them into the relegation battle. 

Webb discovered Zaha as a 10-year-old talent and remains in touch with the forward.

“I know Wilf was very close to Patrick. If he was thinking of going then it’s probably pushed him a little bit further towards that,” said Webb.

“He’s really settled from what I know, with all his family around the Croydon, Beckenham, Bromley area so if he was trying something new, ideally it would be another London club. 

“I know he’s had good offers from abroad like Saudi Arabia but I think his ideal one would be to test himself in the Premier League at a higher club.

“I know Poch was a big fan of his. I still think he’s attractive for a couple of years because he’s still got great attributes for the Premier League.”

Zaha, who is valued at €27 million by Transfermarkt, has scored six goals in 23 Premier League games this season. 

More Tottenham Hotspur stories

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Former Tottenham player Jermaine Jenas has expressed his frustration at the club's record in cup competitions, after Spurs were knocked out of the FA Cup by Sheffield United.

And Beyonce – yes, that one – is causing Tottenham a scheduling headache as the business end of the campaign approaches.

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.