Manchester United are growing increasingly concerned their primary managerial target, Mauricio Pochettino, will opt to stay at Tottenham Hotspur beyond the end of the current season, reports The Telegraph's Sam Wallace.
The Red Devils' desire to entice Pochettino to Old Trafford in the near future is well-documented, but the Argentine has a track record of turning down more lucrative opportunities to focus on the project at hand, having done so on occasions during his time at Espanyol.
At Spurs, Pochettino may be working under Daniel Levy's financial constraints, but he is also afforded almost complete control over the day-to-day operations of the team, not to mention transfer targets. That would be very different at United, who appear intent on appointing a director of football and are not inclined to hand such executive power to a coach.
In light of the uncertainty over Pochettino, Wallace suggests a rather surprising name has been added to the shortlist - that of England head coach Gareth Southgate.
Southgate impressed many this summer by leading a revitalized Three Lions to a first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, and his side is currently unbeaten in five games after consecutive wins over Spain, the United States, and Croatia.
He was rewarded with a new contract in October which theoretically takes him until after the 2022 World Cup, but it appears he has piqued United's interest with his on-field results and track record of developing young players and handing them opportunities, despite his only previous managerial experience at club level comprising an ultimate relegation at Middlesbrough.
Though Zinedine Zidane is thought to still be a candidate, for now, it seems, Pochettino remains the first choice if United can convince him to relinquish what he has built at Spurs. Pochettino's men welcome Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's outfit to Wembley on Sunday.