In an expected turn of events, Paris Saint-Germain is preparing to part ways with coach Mauricio Pochettino at the end of the season.
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager joined the club in January 2021 after Thomas Tuchel was sacked after a poor league performance and two disappointing seasons in the Champions League.
Pochettino, respected by fans of the Paris giants during his time as a player, was given the role for his ability to turn an underdog team into a suitable contender. A season ago, Pochettino had led Tottenham Hotspur to the Champions League final and believed the Argentine would be able to do better with a team backed by a bigger budget.
He won his first title, the Champions Cup, in his first six months at the club and soon followed up with the Coupe de France. However, he was not able to right Tuchel’s mistakes and PSG lost the Ligue 1 title to LOSC Lille that season.
There was plenty of hope in his second season – his first full season as coach – as PSG achieved the biggest summer transfer window in Europe. They signed five marquee signatures, and paid a transfer fee for only one of them. Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum all came free as they paid £60m for Achraf Hakimi to Inter.
However, Pochettino was unable to fully capitalize on his new superstar squad, and exited from the Coupe de France as the reigning Champions League and title holder. PSG were eliminated from both competitions in the round of 16. He also made some questionable performances in the first division similar to Tuchel’s last half season at the club, but he was lucky enough that other teams did not play as well as they did last season.
The collapse from the Champions League was the final straw for the club, with the PSG leadership clearly stating that Pochettino, as well as the club’s sporting director Leonardo Araujo, will pay the price for this missed opportunity. Fans also turned to Pochettino and the team, booing them at every home game, with some even walking out after the club won their 10th Ligue 1 title to become the most successful team in Ligue 1.
The PSG leadership is now sticking to their promise to make Pochettino pay for the season’s mishaps as news from France now confirms that the Argentine and his staff will leave at the end of the season. The club will pay them a compensation of 12.6 million pounds for this purpose.
Pochettino was vying to become the next manager of Manchester United and was even interviewed by the club. It was not hidden from the Paris Saint-Germain board, who were also allegedly influenced by the Argentine’s desire to lead another team while overseeing what is considered a failure of a season based on the number of titles won.
The United job has been given to Ajax Amsterdam’s manager, Erik ten Hag, instead, and Pochettino was also reportedly surprised he didn’t get the job. This puts the former Espanyol boss at a crossroads as it is now understood that he no longer wants to be PSG manager, hence his quest for the United role.
Pochettino and his staff have one year left on their contracts with PSG, and it remains to be seen whether the French giants are willing to pay £12.6m to terminate their contracts at the end of the season.
Their target remains Zinedine Zidane, who is said to want either Paris Saint-Germain or the France national team with a preference for the national team job much more. With Didier Deschamps called to step down from the national team after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Zidane may choose to wait longer to return to active football management.
Meanwhile, Pochettino’s successor at Tottenham, Antonio Conte, has presented himself to Paris Saint-Germain as an option before next season, and the Parisians have designated him as an option for this role.