Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy is convinced Mauricio Pochettino will remain at the club next season. The highly-rated Argentine has performed brilliantly since leaving Southampton to succeed Tim Sherwood in 2014, changing the culture of Spurs and leading them in back-to-back Premier League title challenges.
Such excellent work has not gone unnoticed and it was recently claimed Inter Milan had Pochettino alongside the likes of Chelsea's title-winning manager Antonio Conte and Diego Simeone of Atletico Madrid on their shortlist of potential new managers following the dismissal of Stefano Pioli. Sky Sports Italia subsequently reported the Nerazzurri were willing to pay the former Espanyol boss £8.5m a year and could buy him out of a five-year contract signed in May 2016 for a fee of £4.2m.
Pochettino firmly denied the existence of such a buyout clause and confirmed he would stay with Tottenham, stating he had "no reason to leave the club".
It is certainly not uncommon in football for circumstances to change dramatically in a short period of time, although Levy is confident that he will remain beyond the summer. Outgoing Roma boss Luciano Spalletti now looks set to take over at Inter.
"Is he [Pochettino] going somewhere? Look he's here," Levy told the press in Hong Kong, where Tottenham are due to meet reigning domestic champions Kitchee SC in a post-season friendly tomorrow (26 May) just five days after ending their top-flight campaign with a 7-1 thrashing of relegated Hull City.
"Sitting right with us here. I'm sure he's not going anywhere. He loves us."
Levy was speaking at a press conference held to announce that Tottenham had extended their official partnership with Hong Kong-based pan-Asian life insurance company AIA Group Limited until the end of the 2021-22 season.
Pochettino named a strong 22-man squad for the trip to the Far East, with young quartet Filip Lesniak, Luke Amos, Will Miller and Kazaiah Sterling all handed a chance to impress. Mousa Dembele has not travelled as he prepares to undergo surgery on a lingering foot injury, while long-term absentees Erik Lamela, Harry Winks and Danny Rose also remain sidelined.
Kitchee SC vs Tottenham is due to kick off at 8pm local time, 1pm BST. The match takes place at Hong Kong Stadium in So Kon Po, Causeway Bay.