After Zinedine Zidane’s surprise retirement resignation on Thursday, European champions Real Madrid are without a manager. But who will replace him? Will they spend £28million to bag yer man from Liverpool? Or is this a job for Brendan Rodgers (33/1), Unai Emery (50/1), Sam Allardyce (150/1), Alan Curbishley (300/1) or Phil Kitromilides (500/1)?
DAILY MIRROR: Mauricio Pochettino ‘is the preferred choice of Bernabeu president Florentino Perez’. Tottenham are ‘braced’ for an approach, but the manager’s recent new five-year deal stands them in good stead in terms of potential compensation packages.
Neil McLeman adds: ‘Antonio Conte and even Arsene Wenger are other options for Real Madrid, along with Chelsea targets Maurizio Sarri and Laurent Blanc.’
THE SUN: Actually, Jurgen Klopp is ‘the leading candidate’ to replace Zidane. He ‘has shot to the top of the Madrid wish list’ after a fine season with Liverpool, and ‘has the personality and the strong character’ needed to undertake such a task.
‘Liverpool’s exhilarating brand of attacking football has convinced Perez that Klopp is the right man to knock bitter rivals Barcelona off their perch at the top of La Liga,’ Mark Irwin and Paul Jiggins tell us.
Pochettino ‘is also on the radar’ and ‘will be explored’.
Other names mentioned are former Arsenal manager Wenger, current Real youth team coach Guti, Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and Chelsea boss Conte.
BBC SPORT: The suggestion is that Pochettino is the favourite, followed by Allegri, Wenger and Sarri. ‘A number of names are being circulated as potential replacements for Zidane, with the most heavily-touted candidate being Mauricio Pochettino,’ says Spanish football writer Andy West.
The Tottenham manager ‘would be Perez’s first option’, with his new contract a ‘stumbling block’. In which case, Conte could be a candidate – although Real want ‘someone a little easier to control’.
Germany head coach Joachim Low ‘is also being linked with the job’, but is another who has recently signed a new contract. Sarri is again mentioned, as is Wenger.
But what about this: Real could ‘even attempt to lure back Jose Mourinho from Manchester United’. Now then.
DAILY TELEGRAPH: Real ‘will want to test Mauricio Pochettino’s desire to stay at Tottenham,’ but admit Allegri of Juventus is ‘a more obtainable target’. The other three names they mention are Wenger, Conte and Sarri.