Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has ruled himself out of contention to become Argentina's new head coach. The Albiceleste, who have not won a major trophy for 23 years, are currently searching for new direction after Gerardo "Tata" Martino resigned in the wake of last month's Copa America Centenario final defeat to defending champions Chile in New Jersey.
That heartbreaking penalty shoot-out loss to the South American champions was their second in a row and a third final defeat in two years following Mario Gotze's extra-time winner at the 2014 World Cup in neighbouring Brazil. As well as hastening the departure of their manager, yet another near miss also led to Lionel Messi declaring his intention to retire from international football. The exasperated Barcelona superstar claimed he had done "all I can" for the team and that it "hurts not to be a champion".
Santa Fe-born Pochettino was initially linked with the vacant coaching job late last week, when Argentine Football Association (AFA) sources told daily newspaper La Nacion that Armando Perez, head of a four-man regularisation committee, planned to speak to the 44-year-old regarding his availability during a trip to Spain to harness the views of successful compatriots Diego Simeone and favourite Jorge Sampaoli.
A long-haired Pochettino earned 20 senior caps for Argentina during his playing career as a centre-back with Newell's Old Boys, Espanyol and Paris Saint-Germain, featuring at the 2002 World Cup and famously fouling Michael Owen to concede the contentious penalty dispatched by David Beckham during a 1-0 defeat to rivals England at the Sapporo Dome in Japan. It appears that he has no ambitions to manage the country just yet, however.
"I think the speculation is normal because I am an Argentinian coach at a top club in England," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports. "There are a lot of rumours that appear in the media but I am happy at Tottenham and for that reason, this is not the right moment."
Pochettino was speaking in Melbourne, where Tottenham are currently preparing for International Champions Cup matches against Juventus and Simeone's Atletico Madrid. They also travel to Ullevaal Stadion in Oslo for a friendly clash with Inter Milan before opening the 2016/17 Premier League campaign away to Ronald Koeman's Everton on Saturday 13 August.
Spurs have added two new faces to the squad that competed with Leicester City for the title last term before a late wobble that saw them finish third and behind Arsenal for the 21st year in a row, with powerful midfielder Victor Wanyama arriving from Southampton and prolific Dutch striker Vincent Janssen signing from AZ Alkmaar. Talented young winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou is expected to join in a £10.9m ($14.2m) deal from Marseille and Pochettino has confirmed that Nabil Bentaleb, Federico Fazio and Alex Pritchard can all leave the club. However, it remains to be seen if striker Clinton Njie will be heading back to Ligue 1 on loan.