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May 27, 2014

Reports: Spurs close in on Pochettino

ESPN FC's Julien Laurens assesses Tottenham's desire to hire Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino

Tottenham Hotspur are in advanced negotiations with Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino, according to widespread reports.

Jolly: Can Pochettino step up?

Spurs declined to comment on the rumours when contacted by ESPN FC, but media outlets including Sky Sports, the BBC and the Press Association believe Pochettino has been identified as the primary candidate to replace Tim Sherwood, whose reign was cut short at the end of the season, and an appointment appears to be imminent.

The Argentine has been linked with the post for some time, but Ajax boss Frank de Boer claimed in April that Spurs had made an informal approach for his services, although his claims were denied by the club and the Dutchman recently told the BBC there had been no recent contact.

Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has also been linked with the vacancy at White Hart Lane more recently, but his Champions League success at the weekend appears to have ended any remote hope Spurs may have had of prising the Italian away from the Bernabeu.

Former Espanyol boss Pochettino, 42, has impressed since arriving at St Mary's in January last year, steering the club to safety following the controversial dismissal of Nigel Adkins and then finishing eighth in his first full campaign in charge.

He has attracted praise for the manner in which he has brought through youngsters including Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Callum Chambers as well as bringing the best out of the likes of Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert.

England under-21 defender Nathaniel Clyne said in the Daily Mirror that Pochettino had revolutionised the way Saints played.

"He has been so different to any other manager," he said. "He planted it into our heads that even if we were up against bigger teams and bigger players, we could compete at the same level as them. He taught us never to fear them or be intimidated just because of their big names or their big reputations.

"He'd have us pressing high, keeping a high line, receiving the ball in difficult situations, keeping possession and basically having the confidence to play football rather than being afraid.

"The understanding in our defence was down to our training. We worked really hard on our fitness and our intensity and it showed in the games. For me personally it took my game to another level. It would be a real shame if we were to lose him."

Rodriguez, who is currently recovering from a knee injury that prevented him joining England's World Cup squad, told the Southern Daily Echo last week that Pochettino's future was "up in the air."

He added: "He is unbelievable. Anyone will say what a great manager he is and what a good guy he is, to see how well he's done with the type of football we're playing. He's worked us hard and we've seen the benefits from it so I think he's a great manager and I love playing under him."

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