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Thomas Tuchel has overtaken Mauricio Pochettino as Manchester United's No.1 choice to become the club's next permanent manager.
And United CEO Richard Arnold would like to appoint Tuchel before the end of this season if possible – instead of waiting until the summer. Pochettino had long been United's preferred choice to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the Norwegian's sacking in November and the Argentine had the backing of Sir Alex Ferguson.
But the growing problems at Chelsea, where owner Roman Abramovich has tried to sell the club but now had his assets frozen due to his close links with Russia president Vladimir Putin, have given United genuine hope that Tuchel is now available and can be lured to Old Trafford.
The German's future has become increasingly uncertain and this has resulted in a dramatic change in the thinking of the United board when it comes to appointing the next boss. While Pochettino's failure to lead Paris Saint-Germain past the last-16 of the Champions League has not helped his cause, United appreciate his club's problems in Europe were happening long before his arrival in the French capital.
But there is a growing concern that Pochettino's failure to win significant trophies makes him a less attractive proposition than Tuchel, who won the Champions League within six months of taking charge at Chelsea.
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United have also been impressed with how Tuchel has handled the increasing pressures of dealing with the current crisis enveloping his London club.
Potential buyers of Chelsea need to register their interest in the club before the end of this week, and a new owner could decide to make a managerial change. Tuchel is under contract at Stamford Bridge until 2024, but United know a generous compensation package would now be hard for the cash-strapped club to turn down.
One stumbling block for United could be their failure to secure a top-four finish and Champions League qualification. United are currently fifth in the table and one point behind Arsenal, but have played three games more than the Gunners.
Ralf Rangnick was drafted in on an interim basis but was just a stop-gap measure – and will take on a director's role at the end of the season.
- Manchester United FC
- Chelsea FC
- Thomas Tuchel
- Mauricio Pochettino
- PSG FC
- Roman Abramovich
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