TOTTENHAM fear Mauricio Pochettino will quit for Real Madrid in the summer.
Poch, who was first choice to succeed Jose Mourinho at Manchester United, has told chairman Daniel Levy his burning ambition is to win titles.
He warned it could take “five to ten years” to turn Spurs into genuine title contenders before Wednesday’s loss at Chelsea.
And Pochettino, who is fed-up with criticism about his failure to land a trophy since joining in 2014, wants the financial backing to compete for the game’s top honours.
Real Madrid made contact with the Argentine, 46, last summer — just days after he penned a new five-year contract at White Hart Lane.
Although Poch was prepared to talk, Real president Florentino Perez was told to make an official approach to Levy.
The Spurs chairman turned them down flat but they know the Spanish giants are willing to pay up to £40million in compensation for him.
Real are in crisis yet again after they were beaten 3-0 inside the Bernabeu in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final against rivals Barcelona.
They are also third in La Liga, nine points behind Barca and two off their city rivals Atletico.
And boss Santiago Solari is under huge pressure — just four months after replacing Julen Lopetegui.