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At long last, Paris Saint-Germain have found a successor to Carlo Ancelotti in the form of Laurent Blanc. After weeks of speculation with names being bounded around such as Fabio Capello, Rudi Garcia, Guus Hiddink and Andre Villas-Boas, the club has come to an agreement with the former Bordeaux coach to take the helm. As good as it is to finally put this saga to an end, it has been a PR disaster on the part of the club.
The uncertainty surrounding not only the club but also Ancelotti has not been healthy. I have said for weeks that as soon as the club had a whiff that Real Madrid were courting Carlo, a contingency plan should have been drawn up. Instead the hierarchy have had to deliberate almost on a daily basis who they were likely to appoint and I still do not think they had a clear successor in mind. This obsession to hire Arsene Wenger in the summer of 2014 has been a disaster in terms of convincing well respected coaches to come to the Parc des Princes. The incessant offer of one-year contracts to people like Rafael Benitez, Rudi Garcia and Guus Hiddink is a clear sign of disrespect in my opinion. Names like that that are not going to warm the seat for another man for a year only to be discarded no matter what they achieve. It was naive to think that.
Had the club put their obsession with Wenger aside and looked at things in a realistic manner, this whole situation would have been resolved sooner. Instead it has taken us to nearly the end of June to come to a compromise. But, in the end I think the club have made a very smart appointment in Laurent Blanc.
First and foremost, he is a Frenchman. He can relate to the strong French contingent at the club which have a real solid bond and that will manifest to the rest of the dressing room. Zoumana Camara signing a one year contract extension at the weekend reaffirms that. Second of all, Blanc is a winner. He is a world champion, European champion, title winning coach with Bordeaux. He has a glittering CV, much like Ancelotti – arguably achieving greater things than him as a player. On top of that, he has the integrity to compliment that knowledge which will generate a real solid togetherness in the squad. He will not disrupt the good work by Ancelotti, but keep it ticking over.
His ethos has been to play a brand of attractive football and that is what the Parisien fans would love to see. Ancelotti’s teams had a professionalism to grind out results at times but reverting to a counter-attacking 4-4-2 culminated in the team’s most exciting performances last season. Will Blanc opt for a 4-4-2? At this time it is hard to say but he is more accustomed to a 4-3-3 with frenetic pace accompanying a target man from both sides. Not too dissimilar to how PSG have played in the last 24-months and there a host of players to undertake those responsibilities such as Lucas Moura, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Jeremy Menez. But again, all will become clearer in the coming weeks.
At least now the issue is resolved and plans can be drawn on mapping out success this forthcoming campaign. I reiterate this should have been done a lot sooner but we are where we are. It is up to Blanc along with director of football Leonardo to now decide where we need to strengthen and delve into the transfer market. Le Parisien speculated that Napoli striker Edinson Cavani and Chelsea’s David Luiz are two priorities for the club but they will cost. Cavani’s release clause alone exceeds €60m.
Blanc said yesterday he will discuss terms today before signing his contract but emphasised the greatness of the opportunity; “I’ll be in Paris on Monday to discuss terms. There is a good chance I will sign on the day. PSG is a great opportunity, it is a very good club.”
Welcome to the champions Laurent Blanc.