I’ve said it for years now and it remains true, managing Paris Saint-Germain is the most difficult job in football.
Since Qatar Sports Investments took over the club in 2011, PSG has had six different managers, three of them being appointed in the last five years. As you likely read on our home page earlier this season, Mauricio Pochettino is the latest manager to take over the capital club and there’s already rumors he’s looking for the exit.
As reported by The Athletic, Tottenham Hotspur has reached out to Pochettino about potentially returning to the club that sacked him in November of 2019. The report is shocking for numerous reasons. First, Pochettino is a former PSG player and professed his admiration for the club and the city in multiple interviews. He also only just arrived in January of 2021, and signed an 18-month deal. Despite falling short of the Ligue 1 title, he still guided the club to a Coupe de France title and the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
If Pochettino wants out after just five months, something is rotten behind the scenes at PSG.
The same report from The Athletic revealed that PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Leonardo have met with Pochettino and are planning summer transfer moves with him in mind. Still, where there’s smoke there is fire, and a manager that is answering phone calls from other teams is never good.
Could this all have something to do with Zinedine Zidane stepping down from Real Madrid? Zidane is a French football icon and someone who Kylian Mbappé admires greatly. Could Pochettino be trying to stay one step ahead of a club that would likely sack him in a heartbeat if Zidane expressed an interest in managing PSG?
Then there are our old friends Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel. Both experienced highs and lows in Paris but were ultimately sacked for not winning the Champions League. Emery led Villareal CF to the UEFA Europa League title this season, and Tuchel won the Champions League with Chelsea just five months after being sacked.
Why is a manager looking to leave Paris when he’s only just arrived? Why are former managers thriving at new clubs when they struggled mightily at PSG? Some might point to the superstars in the PSG squad as having too much influence. Others might say Leonardo is the problem. Whatever the problem is, it needs to be sorted out because PSG needs to be a team on the pitch and off to have a chance at winning the Champions League. Could Zidane be the missing link? Only time will tell.