PSG Winners and Losers from Laurent Blanc's Appointment as Coach
With the dust having settled on Laurent Blanc’s unveiling as the new Paris Saint-Germain coach last week, the club begin life under the Frenchman.
Replacing the two-time Champions League winner was no easy task though, and the process that PSG went thorough before settling for "Le President" was not straightforward.
There are plenty of winners and losers in this appointment; here is how it breaks down.
Some of the biggest winners with the Blanc appointment are PSG’s French contingent.
Many of the club’s domestic talents were left disgruntled under Ancelotti at a lack of playing time after the arrival of foreign star names.
Some are undisputed starters, but others are not, and some of the capital club’s French internationals rightly feel aggrieved at being given so few chances.
Often-forgotten striker Kevin Gameiro, Les Bleus regular Mamadou Sakho, fellow youth academy product Clement Chantome and the enigmatic Jeremy Menez were eventually only bit-part players under Ancelotti.
All have a better chance of staying at the club under Blanc’s leadership.
Indeed Blanc advised Gameiro on making the move to PSG two years ago when he was France coach, according to L’Equipe (h/t Sky Sports), so he owes him a chance. He was also able to get the best out of mercurial talent Menez internationally.
Expect to see PSG boasting a more French flavour this season.
Winner: Carlo Ancelotti
The move that at one point never looked like it was going to happen did eventually go through, and it finally freed Ancelotti to join Real Madrid.
Qatar Sports Investments’ treatment of the Italian pre-Christmas last season eventually forced the Italian to feel that he could not continue at the club.
Blanc’s appointment will have been welcome relief for Ancelotti, who was facing the real possibility of being forced to see out the final year of his contract against his will.
After realising the futility in keeping a coach against his wishes, PSG were forced to search for a new leader.
Grudgingly, they found him, but it has been a costly process for all involved, not least Ancelotti. For the first time in his career, Ancelotti pushed for a move away.
Winner: Laurent Blanc
Obviously nobody gains as much from the appointment as Laurent Blanc himself.
Coaching PSG is a massive opportunity for anybody in the modern game.
Not only has he landed at one of France’s strongest sides, the capital club are a great platform for him to rebuild his reputation after the disappointment with Les Bleus at Euro 2012.
He should beware, though; it looks like the real winner from all of this is sporting director Leonardo.
Despite a provisional nine-month ban for shoving a referee last season, which could have cost him his job, the Brazilian still appears to hold the keys to the PSG castle.
Blanc has admitted as much by confirming in his opening press conference that no coach or player acquisitions go through without his say-so.
Loser: Laurent Blanc
Bringing us on to the losers; Blanc also features prominently.
The 47-year-old is now in a position where it will be very easy to be undermined by the club’s hierarchy, particularly Leonardo.
Ancelotti was believed to have struggled with the Brazilian’s meddling in first-team affairs despite their close relationship.
There is nothing to suggest that Blanc will fare any better than the Italian.
The feeling is also that no matter how successful the Frenchman is, should a more prestigious candidate become available, he will once again be back on the market.
Blanc is in the unenviable position of being both a winner and a loser in this decision.
Losers: Paris Saint-Germain
PSG themselves are massive losers in this decision because of the sheer number of candidates that were mentioned in relation to the job before opting for Blanc.
That, followed by a series of embarrassing, high-profile rejections, makes the club appear willing to settle for second best.
The PSG hierarchy and their obsession with Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger is reaching unhealthy levels, but other big-name candidates included Jose Mourinho, Rafa Benitez, Andre Villas-Boas and Fabio Capello, according to ESPN’s Ian Holyman.
Of course, in time, Wenger could prove to be a winner in this situation.
He is allowed to finish his job at Arsenal and then, should he fancy it, knows that there is a position that can easily be vacated for him at the Parc des Princes.
But for now, the club’s reputation has taken a bit of a beating.
Losers: The Fans
Arguably the biggest losers in this case, though, are the fans.
Confused by the club’s behaviour since the end of the season, there has been little to be happy about over the summer.
Not least the appointment of Blanc, a former player of bitter rivals Marseille, which has had an underwhelming effect in the French capital.
PSG’s summer search for a coach made the club look like a joke, undoing some of the hard work that had gone towards building such a promising reputation among Europe’s elite.
Obviously that prestige can be restored in time, particularly if the club are successful in eventually luring Wenger to Paris.
But it has been an unexpectedly tedious summer for the fans after the euphoria of a first Ligue 1 title in 19 years.
Despite that, the club were quick to announce at Blanc's first press conference that over 30,000 season tickets have been sold ahead of this season, as ESPN reports.
Biggest Winners or Losers
Of course it is not all doom and gloom.
There are some positives to the appointment.
Blanc was famed during his time at Bordeaux for his championing of entertaining, flowing football, and that style is what PSG will expect him to ally with results this season.
Although Ancelotti coped admirably with such a difficult selection of characters, the capital club’s eventual title victory was less than convincing.
Blanc, with little to lose, could yet prove a masterstroke for PSG.
"Le President" managed to get the best out of the enigmatic Yoann Gourcuff with Les Girondins; he faces similar characters in Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez at the Parc des Princes.
Though he might not have been anybody’s first choice, PSG could yet emerge the biggest winners from the Ancelotti debacle.
They would win over the sceptical French media by triumphing once again, while restoring some of their identity by relying less on foreign talent.