North London switch no longer an issue?

Arsenal
AC Milan reportedly want Maurico Pochettino to take over and will promise him a £300m transfer warchest if he decides to jump ship.

Former Tottenham boss Maurico Pochettino has been linked with the Arsenal job, so is moving from one north London club to another still a ‘no-no’.

Pochettino was shown the Tottenham Stadium exit door on November 19 after more than five years at the helm, with former Manchester United and Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho moving into the dugout.

Soon after, Unai Emery’s tortuous reign as Gunners chief came to an end and the search is on to fill the void at the Emirates, with Freddie Ljungberg currently acting as caretaker but not thought to be in the frame for the main job.

With the clubs in close proximity to each other, there has been a long-held rivalry between Spurs and Arsenal and, in that part of the capital, you are either a ‘Lilywhite’ or ‘Gooner’ and never the twain shall meet.

A few players have crossed the divide, with Sol Campbell swapping white for red and, despite the obvious vitriol towards him from the supporters, managed to flourish.

George Graham is the most high-profile manager to work at both clubs, taking charge of Arsenal for nine years before a three-year stint in charge of Spurs.

There was a three-year hiatus before he did the ‘unthinkable’ but Northern Irishman Terry Neill left White Hart Lane in 1976 and moved to Highbury the same year.

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That is the choice now for Pochettino who is back in his native Argentina pondering his next move.

The 47-year-old has made it clear he wants to work in Europe and will certainly not be short of suitors, having excelled while in charge of Southampton prior to his Spurs switch.

All those with a white persuasion in the area will hope he does not move to Arsenal but Gunners legend Paul Merson does not feel it matters any more.

Speaking on Sky Sports, the 51-year-old said he thinks management and players from both clubs would rather beat Chelsea than each other as it is now a more glamourous London tie than the local derby.

Those thoughts are unlikely to be echoed in the stands, however, with the north London derby the first match that fans of the duo will look for when the fixture list comes out.

The fact that fewer players than in the past at either club are local lads means that there is no longer that intense rivalry on the pitch, but it is always there among the supporters.

Pochettino has stated that he would never manage Arsenal having been with Spurs but, as they say, ‘nothing in football is a surprise any more’.

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