Did you see it? There’s a little detail in Mauricio Pochettino’s new contract at Paris Saint-Germain that could prevent him from succeeding in his return to the French capital.
Last Saturday, PSG officially announced Pochettino as the new manager of the club following the departure of Thomas Tuchel. In the release, the club revealed that the former Tottenham Hotspur boss signed a contract that will keep him at the Parc des Princes through June 30, 2022, with an option for an extra year.
For those who aren’t good at math, that means Pochettino has 18 months to lead PSG to UEFA Champions League glory. He’ll get this season, where PSG are in the Round of 16 with a tie against FC Barcelona coming up in February, and then next season. If he’s successful, there’s no doubt he’ll get that extra year, but if not, he will likely be looking for a new job.
So, what’s so odd about an 18-month contract? Well, as The Boy Hotspur points out, Tuchel was given a 2-year deal when he originally signed for PSG and was extended for an extra year. Even Unai Emery, who managed the club before Tuchel, was given a 2-year contract initially. Is the fact PSG only gave Pochettino an 18-month contract a sign that they don’t have faith in their new manager?
It’s certainly easy to think that way but I believe Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG’s president, gave Pochettino an 18-month contract for a very specific reason.
As things stand now, PSG are only really guaranteed to have both Neymar Jr. and Kylian Mbappé for the next 18 months. Both are currently on contracts that expire on June 30, 2022, so it sort of makes sense to tie the new manager to the same period of time.
Now, the club is actively discussing extensions for both of their superstars but nothing is definite at this point. PSG have a “win now” mentality and that is exactly what Pochettino is being brought to Paris to do—win now.
It also makes sense to give Pochettino an 18-month contract because like all clubs around Europe, the ongoing pandemic has put a financial strain on PSG. They don’t want to sign Pochettino for three or four years only for it to not work out and have to buy out the entire staff like they just did with Tuchel.
So, you can say PSG doesn’t have faith in Pochettino but I call it smart business. I also appreciate that Poch took the deal when he was being courted by other clubs who would have likely given him a longer deal. It shows that he is betting on himself and he believes he can win the Champions League in 18 months. You have to love that confidence.
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