KEIR RADNEDGE in LYON: Paris Saint-Germain, impatient to push ahead with renewal for next season’s assault on the Champions League, have confirmed the appointment of German Thomas Tuchel as coach.
Tuchel replaces Spaniard Unai Emery who was fortunate to survive last season’s embarrassing humiliation by Barcelona but whose departure was ensured after PSG’s failure against Real Madrid this time around.
PSG, having regained the league and maintained command of the cup, have started working on next term even though the current domestic season has yet to finish.
Tuchel had been favourite to take over in the French capital for some weeks, partly because he has been undertaking a sabbatical from the game which has seen him linked with a variety of high-profile jobs, including the vacancy at Arsenal.
PSG’s French domination under Emery underlined the Qatari owners’ higher ambitions as exemplified in the €222m world record signing of Brazilian captain Neymar from Barcelona last summer.
A PSG statement said: “Paris Saint-Germain is pleased to announce the arrival of Thomas Tuchel as coach of the professional team. He has signed a two-year contract.”
Tuchel, from Krumbach, Bavaria, saw a lower-division career as a central defender ended by a knee injury when he was only 25.
He began a coaching career at head of the Stuttgart youth teams and stepped up as a mainstream league coach in 2009 with Mainz. Over the next five seasons he established a personal reputation as one of the most progressive coaches in the Bundesliga with his emphasis on aggressive, attacking football.
In 2015, he again followed in the footsteps of Jurgen Klopp when he was appointed by Borussia Dortmund. They won the cup last year at the end of his second season but he was sacked three days later after having fallen out with the club hierarchy.
It has been suggested that Tuchel’s appointment was given the personal stamp of approval by the Emir of Qatar though club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and technical director Antero Henrique would have preferred more experienced coaches such as Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri or Chelsea’s Antonio Conte.
Tuchel’s first challenge will be one of the most complex and will be off the pitch – persuading Neymar to stay with PSG amid increasing speculation about a world record-breaking move back to Spain with Real Madrid.