Soccer

PSG planning for 2021-22 season with Mauricio Pochettino despite Tottenham Hotspur interest

Just when you thought the craziness of the 2020-21 European soccer season was over, clubs have started to make big calls over their head coaches all across the continent with the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Antonio Conte among those leaving.

However, nobody expected Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino to be linked with a move away from Parc des Princes already, but CBS Sports’ James Benge has reported that Tottenham Hotspur are already trying to lure him back to London.

Guillem Balague has shed some light on the situation, clarifying that PSG “have no intention” of letting their former player go and have been “surprised” by the reports, but that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy did ask the question as they search for Jose Mourinho’s replacement.

There is also the human aspect with Balague explaining that “half of Pochettino’s family remain in London” which is seen as a “permanent” base like Barcelona with a return to England “a goal” moving forward.

However, the PSG tactician has “started planning for next season” with the French giants’ hierarchy and the South American is “not blamed” for failing to win Ligue 1 with “big improvements” noted in the squad.

Then there is the Real Madrid temptation after Zidane’s exit and Balague feels that “surely” Pochettino will get a call from the Spaniards as they search for a new boss.

While PSG have rejected the notion that the 49-year-old could pack it all in already, it is also worth noting that there have been positives to his time in the French capital so far with Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions titles, as well as UEFA Champions League progress past the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Pochettino also enjoys a particularly fruitful relationship with star man Kylian Mbappe who PSG are trying to tie to an extended contract with Zidane’s Madrid exit possibly an obstacle in any potential future move there.

Speaking with the PSG website on Thursday, he also promised to do “great things in the future.”

“Well, the first thing we had to do was to create good relationships, to be accepted in a club, in the middle of the season, to jump on a moving train,” he said. “That is always a big challenge. That was the first thing to do. From there, we got to know each other in the most natural way, the most spontaneous way. 

“I think the first approach went well and I think we generated a good atmosphere of work and energy between all the coaching staff of the club, with us and with all the players. I think we worked in a good way and above all, we achieved certain goals. We did not manage to achieve all of them, but I think we laid a good foundation.

“I am happy with the way the players adapted to the changes. There are a lot of things that could not be changed or could not be developed because of lack of time. But I think that with this way of working, and with the desire to be able to develop other kinds of ideas on the pitch, it will be possible to do great things in the future.

“I think that in football you are never satisfied. Because perfection does not exist. But we are always looking for that satisfaction that we cannot find, because I always believe that football challenges you every day and that from season to season you have to be better and better. But in a club like PSG, you are forced to think that perfection or satisfaction can come and that winning is the only option.”

Satisfied or not, PSG have put their faith in Pochettino and expect him to repay that trust with an improvement on the pitch next season. However, if he cannot settle back in France, then it will be up to him to inform the club and that is something that has not yet happened.

With in-demand Christophe Galtier leaving champions Lille OSC and Zidane now free after leaving Real, the market for French coaches is surprisingly strong at present — as is the case across the rest of Europe as a wave of change continues to blow.



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