When Mauricio Pochettino took the PSG job big things were expected. He had the budget, he had the experience and he had the personality to unify a squad full off strong personalities.
Losing their league title to Lille last season was definitely a set back. Ligue 1 is seen as a one team league by many, so not retaining the title is a huge failure.
So why wasn’t Pochettino sacked? Well it’s quiet simple really, the Argentinian has a big rebuild on his hands and the owners understood the process when they appointed him. They may not have thought that a league title would be lost in the middle of it, but they believe in what Pochettino is trying to do.
Thomas Tuchel’s failure was getting the best out of Neymar and Mbappe over a sustained period of time. In saying that he probably got the more out of them than any other coach. We know that they can score goals. We know that they can create opportunities out of nothing. We know that they can be devastating on the counter attack.
If Pochettino can get the work rate out of his front three chasing down defenders in the way that he had Kane, Son and Dele Ali working then that will be a huge step forward. It would be next level PSG. Therein lies the problem in which no other coach has succeeded.
Pochettino has changed the system from five at the back to his preferred 4-2-3-1. He has tried players in different positions and moved others back into their most comfortable position like Marquinhos back into centre back.
For all the discussion about formations and philosophies they are not the main key to success. Recruitment is most definitely number one in this regard. So far the summer has been a fruitful transfer window for the Parisian club.
The mega rich club has brought in three fantastic free transfers. Three players that change the mindset and dynamic of the team. Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Gini Wijnaldum. They are all winners!
Donnarumma is world class. During Euro 2020 he showed the world at such a young age how complete his game is. Navas is a top goalkeeper, Buffon joined in his twilight years. Donnarumma is a huge step up in quality.
Sergio Ramos is a leader, a winner and is still playing at a high level. Pairing up with Marquinhos in the centre of defence with Donnarumma in behind is going to see Pochettino’s team a more sold unit.
Wijnaldum may not seem the most exciting of the three but he could be the most important. Bar Verratti the PSG midfield has in recent years been truly unimpressive. The Dutch man like he did at Liverpool will bring the full package. Klopp described why Liverpool’s loss will be PSG’s gain…
Klopp on Wijnaldum
“I will miss the player he is like crazy – highest-quality ability, one of the smartest players I have ever had the privilege to coach. His contribution was off the scale, a manager’s dream,”
“But as a person he’ll leave just as big a hole. A more giving individual you could not wish to meet. Gini is very strong and opinionated, but his motivation is only to help the team – always. His team-mates adored him and respected him in equal measure.
“His smile lit up our workplace. He was a huge part of our beating heart. Of course, he is now someone else’s and on behalf of the team we wish him great success in France with PSG. It is no surprise he’s joined such an amazing club. Knowing his personality, he will fall in love with the city and the team – and they with him.
With one year left on his contract Kylian Mbappé may have been looking to leave Paris this summer. With Real Madrid and more so Barcelona in financial trouble this may swing decisions Pochettino’s way. Even more so could be the potential capture of Messi. Playing in a side with a legend of world football surely would too big an opportunity for Mbappe to turn down.
Messi in the blue of PSG very well may bring out the best in Neymar again. The one player who he stands in awe of and he would want to impress again like at Barcelona. Messi’s presence could make PSG the team to beat this year.
If Pochettino can work his man management magic (that transformed Tottenham in his time there) on this group of players, then this could be the year that the Holy Grail that is the Champions League could finally be Paris bound.