PARIS: The end-of-season managerial merry-go-round could see Reakl Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain swapping coaches with Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti switching places writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
French daily Le Parisen is reporting that even a first league title since 1994 may not be enough to ensure that the Italian sees through his contract at the Parc des Princes until its scheduled expiry in the summer of next year.
Last season PSG, in the first concentrated season of investment by the Qatar Investment Authority, finshed runners-up behind Montpellier after Ancelotti, the former Milan and Chelsea manager.
This season they have reached the second round of the Champions League but are struggling to impose their expected dominance in the French championship, despite being Europe’s biggest-spending club last summer.
Ancelotti’s contract defines his right to continue next season as long as they qualify again for the Champions League. But the arrival of David Beckham has signalled the owners’ desire to ramp up the ‘stardust’ effect.
A first warning of dismissal was issued by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi before a crucial Champions League group match against Porto last December. Technical director Leonardo had been put on notice that he might be needed to take over the team at short notice.
In the event PSG qualified for the knockout stages but sources close to the Italian coach have suggested that the winter break was also the moment when the first discreet inquiries arrived from Real Madrid.
The Spanish league champions are expected to part company with Mourinho within the next four months: either whenever they are knocked out of the Champions League (currently they are locked at 1-1 with Manchester United) or even if they win a record-extending 10th continental crown.
The source said: “There is a sort of verbal agreement that both sides would like to work together next season.”
Mourinho has made no secret of his wish to return, one day, to the Premier League. But Arsenal and Liverpool are highly unlikely to oust Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers respectively, Chelsea would represent a step backwards, Sir Alex Ferguson shows no sign of retiring at Manchester United while Manchester City’s football is run by former Barcelona dirctros Ferran Soriano and Xtiki Begiristain – who rejected Mourinho as a candidate when they were seeking a replacement for Frank Rijkaard.
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