PSG: Blanc, Capello or AVB Would Be Mad to Take a One-Year Contract
Paris Saint-Germain currently find themselves in a peculiar situation.
Shortly before winning Ligue 1's Manager of the Year Award in May, Carlo Ancelotti expressed his desire to leave the club in order to take a job at Real Madrid.
The French champions, however, blocked the move and continue to make life difficult for the Italian. Despite the fact that Los Blancos are eager to unveil the man who was rumored to have signed a pre-contract with them, Ancelotti still finds himself in charge in Paris.
At this rate, when the PSG players return to training at the beginning of July, Ancelotti will be obliged to lead the first training session.
Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi's reticence to let his title-winning manager leave is fuelled by the fact that his hunt for a replacement is not going well.
In recent weeks, a whole host of managerial luminaries have been linked with the job. And most of them appear to have turned the offer down.
Some reports suggested Swansea manager Michael Laudrup might be prised away from his Welsh project to fulfil his Champions League aspirations. Yet the Dane has insisted he will be staying with The Swans.
Guus Hiddink recently extended his contract with Anzhi Makhachkala, but that hasn't stopped his name from being thrown into the hat.
Fresh from his trophy-winning interim spate at Chelsea, Rafa Benitez has also been approached for the job, according to The Daily Mail.
At the time of writing, Laurent Blanc is the latest manager to be linked with the role, with BeIn Sport suggesting his arrival will be announced imminently (source in French). Seeing as BeIn Sport are owned by the same man as the club, this is probably a fairly reliable source.
Yet the two managers who have made the most headlines in connection to PSG are Fabio Capello and Andre Villas-Boas. According to The Guardian, both men have rejected deals offered to them.
By casting their net so wide, how can a club with Champions League aspirations and bottomless resources fail to attract a top-tier manager?
The answer almost certainly lies in the type of deal being offered: a 12-month contract.
Sources such as The Independent assert that the Parisians wish to bring in Arsene Wenger on a long-term contract when his deal with Arsenal runs out in June 2014. So for now, the perception is that they merely need someone to warm the bed for the Frenchman.
Despite the fact that PSG appear to represent the absolute antithesis of Wenger's philosophy—spending frugally and building success slowly—the current Arsenal boss enjoys a good relationship with owner Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, who already employs him on his Al Jazeera sports network.
Whether or not you believe Wenger could be tempted to a project like PSG, who on earth would want to be a stop-gap solution before he arrives?
Why would Andres Villas-Boas give up the momentum he is building at Tottenham—and the opportunity to actually coach a team for a second season—just to fill in for a year in Ligue 1?
Why would Fabio Capello give up on leading Russia to next summer's World Cup for a job with no future prospects?
And someone like Rafa Benitez would surely be aware of the drawbacks of taking an "interim" position.
Frankly, PSG's search for a manager is a mess. By offering the job to such an array of managers with various tactical approaches and experience, they are showing that they are not seeking a particular kind of coach that will actually suit the club. They are seeking a "name" who will be good for their "brand."
With the offer of a 12-month contract, PSG are telling managers that they have little confidence in them, they have no future with the team, and they are not committed to them. If things don't go well straight away, it won't be hard for the Qatari-owned side to jettison someone on such a short deal.
By the time you read this, PSG may have already confirmed a new manager. That man might just be Laurent Blanc. But it will be extremely surprising, and perhaps a little ill-advised, if he accepts a 12-month contract.
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