Tottenham target Eddie Howe as Pochettino insists on leaving

Eddie Howe will be a leading contender to take over as Tottenham manager if the club fail to persuade Mauricio Pochettino to stay.

Spurs face a battle to keep their Argentine boss, with Real Madrid and Manchester United both likely to try to recruit him at the end of the season.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will demand full compensation — about £40million — for Pochettino and his staff should United or Real make a move and the South American insists he wants to go.

Real or United would certainly be ready to match or improve Pochettino’s current £8.5million-a-season salary.

United look ready to make Pochettino their No 1 target to replace Jose Mourinho, who was sacked on Tuesday.

Tottenham have long been aware of Pochettino’s growing status in world football and work on a potential succession plan has begun — with Bournemouth manager Howe a preferred replacement.

Howe’s reputation for attractive football and improving his players fits the profile Spurs would be looking for.

Ideally, Levy would prefer Pochettino to stay and finish the job but that could be a tall order with two of Europe’s elite clubs circling.

Without signing a single player in the last transfer window, Pochettino has kept Tottenham on the fringe of the Premier League title race.

Spurs face a battle to keep their Argentinian boss, with Real Madrid and Man United circling

Spurs face a battle to keep their Argentinian boss, with Real Madrid and Man United circling

He was, however, frustrated at Spurs’ failure to improve the squad, while staying silent on the subject publicly.

Sources say Pochettino believes his squad needs substantial investment to take the final step towards winning the top honours his c.v. lacks.

But with Tottenham facing a financial balancing act as they move into a new £850m stadium, Pochettino does not yet know if he will be given the funds needed to improve his squad.