Hardly a month since winning a third consecutive Europa League title with Sevilla, PSG are now reportedly favourites to land Unai Emery, with Laurent Blanc set to get the sack.
Ligue 1 giants Paris St.Germain look set to hire Sevilla’s Unai Emery as their new head coach with Laurent Blanc likely to lose his job. Spanish publication Marca claim that the Parisians will have to fork out €2 million in compensation should they buy out Emery’s contract at Sevilla, which in hindsight is a pretty cheap deal for a cash-rich PSG.
Calls for Blanc’s sacking have been on since the club’s loss to Manchester City in the quarterfinal stage of the Champions League. Manchester City, owned by the Abu Dhabi United Group, a middle-eastern rival of PSG’s Qatari owners, beat PSG 3-2 on aggregate through two legs in April in a result that looks to have sealed Blanc’s fate.
Since taking over the club in 2011, Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s Qatar Sports Investment group have pumped in a sizeable investment on PSG to turn them into a European super-power. Carlo Ancelotti was tasked with taking the Parisians into a new era, and coming in with Champions League winning experience with AC Milan, the Italian was deemed the right man to bring continental glory to the Parc Des Princes.
However, the club lost their man in 2013 to Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid where Ancelotti helped Los Blancos to their elusive tenth Champions League crown in his very first season at the Bernabeu. Laurent Blanc has since been in-charge of managerial affairs at the club and it’d be fair to say PSG have made a fair amount of progress, growing into a near invincible force in the Ligue 1 under the former Les Bleus‘ boss. While Blanc’s men have established their authority in the domestic circuit, European success is still out of reach.
Can Emery replicate Sevilla’s European success at PSG?
Unai Emery is an experienced campaigner on the European stage, albeit in a second-tier competition like the Europa League, snatching continental honours three consecutive times from 2014 to 2016. When his side dispatched Liverpool 3-1 in the final at Basel on May 18th, there was an air of maturity and class in the foundation and implementation of Emery’s tactics. The Spaniard’s ability to assess and alter minute game tactics in high-pressure situations, and an ability to motivate the players to keep faith and perform, is an aspect of his stewardship that’ll impress the PSG owners.
Emery may not have experienced similar success in the Champions League. However, his side, owing to financial constraints, have perennially operated on a shoe-string budget and have had a number of players favour moves to bigger clubs. The fact that they managed to find immediate quality reinforcements for the departed players was down to Monchi, Sevilla’s sporting director, but it was finally up to a tactically astute Emery and his man-management skills to bind the side together and make things work.
Here’s where the Spaniard draws a stark contrast with his French counterpart, Blanc, who, notably in the Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City, failed to inspire his side in a rather dull performance unbecoming of a team aspiring to lift Europe’s biggest crown. With regards to building a quality side, PSG have ticked all boxes, boasting an enviable line-up of stars that can take on any side on their day. However they need a driving force on the sidelines that pushes this team past the finishing line, a box that Emery well and truly checks off.
At Paris, Emery will have the money and big-club status to attract the players he requires and build the team to realistically mount a challenge for the Champions League crown in the years to come. His previous stint overseas at Spartak Moscow was a sobering experience, and if the Spaniard can take that in his stride along with his immensely successful journey at Sevilla, there’s no reason why he can’t be the perfect fit at a PSG side desperate for European glory.