Rumors are swirling around the future of Mauricio Pochettino’s contract after the end of the current season. Paris Saint-Germain are one of the most demanding clubs in world football, and with the club knocked out early in the UEFA Champions League once again, observers including The Guardian have suggested that Pochettino will be out of the door come the end of the season. With Jurgen Klopp signing an extension at Liverpool, Guardiola flying high at City, and young prospect Ten Hag joining Manchester United, there are slim pickings when it comes to potential new managers – but a handful of candidates have proven their winning credentials.
One potential candidate is Zizou. As a player he won the World Cup and Euros for France, and with Real Madrid did the unthinkable in winning three consecutive Champions League titles. While his second stint at Madrid wasn’t quite as good as the first, he remains an elite manager whose European record matches Bob Paisley and Carlo Ancelotti’s. As CBS Sports highlights, the Frenchman has expressed interest in a return to France, making him a good shout for the next manager. Zidane’s teams played good football too, and in a similar system to how PSG play now; Madrid players frequently scored highly in the fantasy football rankings during his tenure, and their midfield in particular was enjoyable to watch.
Another proven winner, albeit in the league more than Europe, Conte is a tenacious and creative performer who has turned Tottenham’s season around – their push for European football has been described as unprecedented by Yahoo given how difficult the start of their season was. When it comes to Europe, PSG has all of the talents but not yet the winning edge. Conte could bring that; he revels as the underdog, getting the teams with less historic quality but excellent players playing in a way that wins them titles. Plus, there’s never, ever, a boring match where Conte is involved. The main question mark hangs over his European record; he failed to get far with Juve and lost in the Europa Cup final with Inter during the 19/20 season.
The return of Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel was clearly a talented manager at PSG, but there’s an argument that his time came too soon. A few seasons later, with Chelsea, he rectified the mistakes highlighted by Football.London to win the Champions League against Man City, enjoying huge underdog status as he went. His first full season with Chelsea has been less successful, with the west London side falling to a distant third place after initially forming part of a three-way title race with Liverpool and Man City, but the club are still on an upward trajectory. Given a second chance, Tuchel could right his wrongs and take PSG to European glory.
The ultimate goal has to be the CL medal. In most seasons, the domestic league and cups are wrapped up before a ball is even kicked. Unfortunately, the managers with the European pedigree – Jurgen Klopp, Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone – seem unlikely to be free any time soon. The club has to pick carefully if Poch is to leave.