MAURICIO POCHETTINO is only awaiting the official call inviting him to become the new manager of Manchester United.
So ignore any of his sweet nothings saying that he is looking forward to a great future with Paris Saint-Germain.
Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino could take charge of Manchester United in the summerCredit: AFP
Red Devils interim gaffer Ralf Rangnick is under pressure at Old Trafford following the defeat against WolvesCredit: Getty
The call will almost certainly be made before summer and there is every indication it will be taken and the offer accepted.
Even allowing for the comedy of errors within the Theatre of Dreams that seems to have been running longer than The Mousetrap the lure of bossing United is as strong as ever for the Argentinian.
He would also be the closest in terms of personality and charisma since the laird of Old Trafford called Fergie time on his legendary career eight years ago.
Maybe he is not quite as feisty and passionate as Sir Alex but he still well up there in those terms and he has a similar sense of irony and humour to him.
He is also about as far removed from the Teutonic deliberation of Ralf Rangnick as it is as possible to get.
And he should also have been in the job a long while ago.
Yet “Mauricio Pochettino – Manager of Manchester United” is a show that is surely, finally, coming soon to the biggest stage of them all.
It would become an instant sell-out, based on a script that even five months ago would have been hard to make up even within what had been a soap orchestra for many a season.
There will be a central theme to the story, too.
For Poch – or for that matter anyone else who turns Rangnick from interim manager to former manager – must deal with the current leading man.
Cristiano Ronaldo may be box office, or at least he certainly was.
Now he is simply in the way, a vanity signing based on a previous romance.
The thrill has gone with CR7.
True enough he has scored goals and it could be argued that he got United into the Champions League round of 16.
United are in danger of missing out on the top four as they trail fourth-placed Arsenal by four pointsCredit: AFP
Yet his presence, on the field if not off it, has been bitter-sweet.
When Wayne Rooney was asked what he thought of his ex-team-mate’s return to United after all those years, he smiled knowingly and said: “I hope the rest of the lads know who’ll be doing all the running….”
United, before Ronaldo’s return, looked like they had a plan and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have been right to feel safe and secure.
Leeds were hammered 5-1, a 1-1 draw was ground out at Southampton, a 1-0 win achieved at Molineux – a result that now looks more impressive than it seemed at the time.
Mason Greenwood scored against Leeds while Bruno Fernandes got a hat-trick that day.
Greenwood got the goal in the 1-1 draw at St. Mary’s and the winner against Wolves.
The youngster rated the best home grown striker for an Old Trafford generation has hit the net only once since.
Before Ronaldo, United did not look like they had a cast of clowns.
Cristiano Ronaldo is United’s top scorer this season with 14 goals in all competitionsCredit: EPA
But they quickly became a laughing stock as Solskjaer tried to accommodate Ronaldo at the cost of Greenwood, at the cost of his system and arguably at the cost of his own principles.
In the end the sudden change in everything he planned cost him his job.
Or is it just coincidence that since Ronaldo scored two on his second debut in the 4-1 win over an awful Newcastle United side the shame of defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City has descended into shambles?
It is difficult to blame Ronaldo, given that he has 14 goals and the performances of some of those around him, including the ever-developing petulance of Fernandes, have been an insult to the badge at times.
But it is still more difficult to look beyond Ronaldo’s presence as the catalyst of the current crisis.
Rangnick, all 4-2-2-2 (whatever that really is), technical notes and new stats man, has never had to deal with the kind of pressure of managing a club of United’s universal stature.
Nor has he ever been confronted by a player who was once a force of nature but is now naturally succumbing to age having lost the fabled extra yard that once made him unplayable.
The German has never been faced by a set of players so angry, disillusioned and confused as those in his charge now.
Five months on since Greenwood scored the winner at Molineux this United is a team of lost boys, as this week’s 1-0 home loss in the return fixture with Wolves only too clearly illustrated.
If Pochettino is, indeed, to take charge of United – for Rangnick surely will not last – then it might be better for him and all concerned if he makes sure that he is the only leading man.
Not sharing top billing with an oldie and not quite so goldie who now postures and struts to no really meaningful effect at all any more.
Don’t look at the Champions League for proof of that.
Look at the Premier League table. Look at the mess.
⚽ Read our Transfer News Live blog for the very latest rumours, gossip and done deals
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.