Being the Paris Saint-Germain manager is the most difficult position in world football.
Think about it. Any manager since the Qatar Sports Investments takeover in 2011 has been judged on one thing at the end of every season: did you win the UEFA Champions League?
Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, and Unai Emery are all coaches who won a ton of games and trophies at PSG but all of them were ultimately dismissed after coming up short in Europe.
It’s really a ridiculous task if you think about it. The Champions League is the hardest trophy to win in club football and requires an insane amount of luck. To make matters even worse for a PSG manager, any domestic trophies won are dismissed as mediocre accomplishments by the media and football fans due to PSG’s financial advantage over their French competition.
A manager can go undefeated in Ligue 1, win the title, win the Coupe de la Ligue, and Coupe de France, but fall in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and the season is considered an abject failure. How ridiculous is that?
In his first season in charge, Thomas Tuchel did not win either of the domestic trophies but did capture the 2018-19 Ligue 1 title. The head-scratching loss to Manchester United in the Round of 16 of the Champions League probably should have cost him his job but the club showed faith in him and offered him a contract extension until June of 2021 according to The Guardian.
Given the expectations at PSG though, you have to wonder if Tuchel will see out the end of his contract with Les Parisiens. Not only has he not won as many trophies as his predecessors, but he’s also had several early-season losses in Ligue 1 that almost never happened in previous seasons under different managers.
If Tuchel doesn’t reach the quarter-finals, or maybe even the semi-finals, of the Champions League this season, he will likely be sent packing. Sporting director Leonardo arrived last summer and he inherited Tuchel. Leonardo likely wants to hire his own manager who he feels is more in line with his transfer policy, style of play, etc. That manager could have just come on the market.
💬 @DTathletic: “The guy changed how people thought of Spurs. More than that, he changed the way the club think of themselves. It was a transformation.
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) November 19, 2019
Tottenham Hotspur announced on Tuesday via their official website that they had sacked Mauricio Pochettino. The Argentine will be familiar to older fans who will remember him playing for Paris Saint-Germain from 2001-03.
That connection to the club led him to comment that he would “be pleased to join a great club like PSG” back in 2016 to RMC via The Guardian. When Emery’s time in the French capital was coming to an end in 2018, Pochettino’s name was once again brought up as a potential replacement as reported by RMC Sport via ESPN‘s Jonathan Johnson:
PSG are reportedly considering sacking Unai Emery before the end of the season, replacing him with either Zoumana Camara or Maxwell, before going all-out for Tottenham Hotspur coach & ex-player Mauricio Pochettino in the summer. #THFC #Spurs https://t.co/wbzHJ2HTLK
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) March 7, 2018
Pochettino’s time in North London never really reached the heights it should have with the talent he had at his disposal. There was one bright spot though. Last season, he led Spurs on an unbelievable run through the Champions League and reached the final against Liverpool FC where they ultimately lost.
If this season doesn’t go as expected for PSG, Tuchel will likely be dismissed and Leonardo could call upon Pochettino to bring some of his luck to Paris to guide the capital club through Europe.
Some may want to see another former player get the job, Thiago Motta who is the manager at Genoa in Serie A, but Pochettino at this point is much more accomplished and experienced.
There are several other managers available right now, Arsène Wenger for example, and more may become available as the season goes on, but I think Pochettino would get a fair look and ultimately it will be up to the PSG hierarchy to decide if he’s up for the toughest job in football.
Want more PSG? Visit the PSG Talk Podcast Network page and subscribe to PSG Talking, The 1970, and 24th & Parc.