Report: Mauricio Pochettino set for PSG axe after Ligue 1 title confirmed
In an expected turn of events, Paris Saint-Germain are set to part ways with manager Mauricio Pochettino at the end of the season.
The former Tottenham Hotspur manager joined the club in January 2021 after Thomas Tuchel was axed from the role following some poor performances in the league and two seasons of disappointment in the UEFA Champions League.
Pochettino, who is respected by fans of the Paris giants for his time as a player, was given the role for his ability to make an underdog team into proper challengers. A season before, Pochettino had taken Tottenham Hotspur to the final of the UEFA Champions League and it was believed that the Argentine would be able to do better with a team that is backed by a bigger budget.
He won his first trophy, the Trophee des Champions, in his first six months at the club and quickly followed it with the Coupe de France title. However, he was unable to rectify Tuchel's mistakes and PSG lost the Ligue 1 title to LOSC Lille that season.
There was so much hope going into his second season - his first full season as manager - as PSG pulled off the greatest summer transfer window in Europe. They signed five marquee signings, paying a transfer fee for only one of them. Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum all came in for free while they paid £60 million for Achraf Hakimi to Internazionale.
Pochettino's failures at PSG
Pochettino, however, was unable to utilise his new super team to full effect, crashing out of both the Coupe de France as defending champions and the Champions League. PSG exited both tournaments in the round of 16. He also had some questionable performances in Ligue 1 similar to Tuchel's last half season at the club, but were lucky enough that other teams did not play as well as they did last season.
Crashing out of the Champions League was the straw that broke the camel's back for the club, as the PSG leadership plainly stated that Pochettino, as well as the club's sporting director Leonardo Araujo, would pay for the missed opportunity. Fans also turned on Pochettino and the team, booing them at every home game, with some even walking out after the club clinched their tenth league title to become the joint most successful team in the French top flight.
PSG's leadership are now keeping to their word of making Pochettino pay for the season's mishaps as news from France now confirms that the Argentine and his staff will be leaving at the end of the season. The club will be paying them a compensation of £12.6 million to this effect.
Pochettino was in the running to become the next Manchester United manager and was even interviewed by the club. It was no secret to the PSG board, who reports have claimed were also influenced by the Argentine's desire to be at the helm of another club while overseeing what is considered a failure of a season based on the number of trophies won.
PSG's replacement options for Pochettino
The United job was given to Ajax Amsterdam manager, Erik ten Hag, instead and it was also reported that Pochettino was surprised at not getting the job. This puts the former Espanyol manager at a crossroads as it is now understood he no longer wants to be the manager of PSG, hence his pursuit of the United role.
Pochettino and his staff have one year left on their PSG contracts, however, and it remains to be seen if the French giants are willing to pay the £12.6 million it will take to terminate their contracts at the end of the season.
Their target remains Zinedine Zidane, who is reported to want either the PSG or France national team job while favouring the national team job a lot more. With Didier Deschamps touted to step down from the national team after the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Zidane may choose to wait a while longer to return to active football management.
Meanwhile, Pochettino's successor at Spurs, Antonio Conte has offered himself to PSG as an option ahead of next season, and the Parisiens have earmarked him as an option for the role.
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