Mauricio Pochettino has become the latest in a long line of Paris Saint-Germain managers to be shown the door having failed to earn the club it’s coveted first Champions League trophy.
Despite winning the Ligue 1 title with a few weeks to spare, les Parisiens’ supporters were unhappy with the former Tottenham Hotspur man who seemingly struggled to handle the many egos of a star-studded Parc des Princes dressing room.
Such is the gap in quality between PSG and the rest of Ligue 1, winning the title is no longer seen as much of an achievement in the French capital and the club’s sights are set squarely on winning the Champions League, but former player Pochettino became the latest man to fail in that mission this season as his side were knocked out by Real Madrid in the Round of 16.
Los Blancos’ own manager Zinedine Zidane is considered to be in contention for the hotseat at PSG in his own country, but as a boyhood Marseille fan that appointment would likely ruffle some feathers in both the north and south of France.
So could it be another man making the journey from North London to Paris instead? Antonio Conte, current incumbent at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, is the early favourite following rumours that he had offered his services to PSG in the aftermath of Pochettino’s sacking.
Another former player in Thiago Motta could be considered also having enjoyed a solid first season with Spezia while Didier Deschamps, Roberto Martinez and River Plate’s Marcelo Gallardo are all included in the bookmaker’s prices for the PSG job.
Although he’s been at Tottenham Hotspur for less than one season, rumours were quick to appear following Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking linking Italian boss Antonio Conte with the job at Parc des Princes.
Having won titles in Italy and England, Conte would bring a wealth of experience to the role and he should be able to handle the large egos in the PSG dressing room, but his record of success in the Champions League is hardly inspiring and that could hold him back if he’s as keen to take this job as some early rumours are suggesting.
Although he never played for Marseille, Zinedine Zidane grew up supporting his local team and given that the club and indeed the city has a long-standing rivalry with Paris, it would certainly get tongues wagging if the former France captain was to return to his own country to take over the reigning champions.
One thing that can’t be questioned with Zidane is his knowledge of that coveted UCL. The 49 year old has lifted the trophy four times at Real Madrid, once as a player and three times as a manager and he seems to know what it takes to earn success in the unique environment of European football.
If PSG are looking to appoint another former player after the Pochettino experiment, then they may look to Brazilian Thiago Motta, who is doing a fine job in keeping Spezia’s heads above water in Serie A this season.
The former Italy international has only been managing the club since the summer however, with his only previous spell in coaching a disastrous 10 game tenure at Genoa. He’s well-known to the PSG hierarchy having previously coached the club’s U19 team, but it would be a big risk to place him in charge of first-team affairs at such an early stage of his coaching career.
Didier Deschamps may feel, having won the World Cup for France already, that it’s time to return to the club game in the coming months, despite having the opportunity to defend les Bleus title in Qatar later this year.
The former L’OM boss has pedigree in winning knock-out competitions, which is exactly what PSG are looking for, but his reputation for a safe style of play may not sit well with the Parisiens support that expects to see the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe racking up the goals on a weekly basis.