Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino is said to head up a list of potential targets to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid next season.
Real are still vying for major silverware this season, with Los Blancos joint 13/10 favourites to win La Liga and 9/2 second favourites to win the Champions League.
However, the emergence of Atletico Madrid – who top the Spanish division for the first time in 18 years – and a tricky meeting with Bundesliga outfit Schalke mean Los Merengues have their work cut out over the coming weeks.
As such the Bernabeu hierarchy have one eye on potential replacements for Ancelotti as it is understood that the failure to land either the league title or Champions League trophy will result in the removal of the former Chelsea, PSG, Milan and Juventus boss.
Saints manager Pochettino has earned many plaudits for the way his side has played their football since his arrival on the south coast and with the St Mary’s outfit currently sitting inside the Premier League’s top 10 it is easy to see why the Spanish giants are interested.
The 40-year-old Argentine coach cut his managerial teeth in La Liga with Espanyol after hanging up his boots at the club and while his stint at Estadi Cornellà-El Prat didn’t exactly set pulses racing the attractive football philosophy he adopted earned him a move to the English top flight.
This reputation for eye-catching football has only been enhanced at St Mary’s with the likes of Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez moving up a level – and earning international call ups – under his tutelage.
Former Real star Zinedine Zidane is also said to be on the shortlist, but with Pochettino rumoured to be assessing his options following the departure of former chairman and close ally Nicola Cortese Madrid may feel they can get their man this summer.
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