There’s a lot going on in the French football media on this Sunday. Some of it could be true, other parts of it are more dubious. Let’s get right into it.
Le Parisienne in France is suggesting that Mauricio Pochettino is on the verge of an exit from Paris St-Germain. The write-up is almost certainly embargoed to the print edition of the paper (it’s not currently listed on their website), but aggregator Get French Football News is on the report.
Breaking | Mauricio Pochettino will imminently be removed as PSG coach, according to Le Parisien - board wants him gone, he wants out. More follows.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) April 24, 2022
But there’s more. According to the same report, Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has “offered himself” to PSG as a potential successor on a two year contract.
Antonio Conte has offered himself to PSG on an initial 2-year engagement, according to Le Parisien. More follows.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) April 24, 2022
Again, this is speculative — the only report I’ve seen on either of these stories is one French newspaper as aggregated by GFFN, which is normally reliable in accurately relaying what is being written by the major French publications.
Sounds pretty terrifying, doesn’t it? If accurate, this would be a continuation of the will-he-or-won’t-he stories that have dogged Conte while at Tottenham Hotspur since... well, basically since he took the Spurs job in the first place. Conte certainly hasn’t made it easy on himself, both going out of his way — personally and through intermediaries — to say that he’s committed to the project while also giving plenty of veiled hints that he’d gladly bail if the club’s ambitions don’t match his own, or if a better job opens up. Is PSG a better job? Yes! It’s kind of hard to compete with a club that has more money than sense, is desperate for trophies, and also currently employs Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe.
That said — it might not be accurate at all. First of all, the framing — that Conte has “offered himself” to PSG — is deeply weird and hilarious. That’s not really how these things work. Conte would either have to quit, or PSG would need to negotiate with Tottenham Hotspur in order to buy out his existing deal. And if you know anything about Daniel Levy, know this: he wouldn’t make it very easy.
Secondly, the same GFFN report suggests that Conte isn’t PSG’s first choice to take over for Pochettino — that would be Zinedine Zidane. However, Conte might be a backup option should Zidane turn the job down.
In addition, Alasdair Gold directly addressed the Conte interest on his weekly YouTube video, and claims people in Conte’s orbit at Spurs are denying that Conte has any interest in the PSG job, whether or not it’s available imminently.
The video below should start at the appropriate place, but if not, you can forward to 54:05.
You can choose to believe what Gold is saying or not, but that’s the line coming out of the Tottenham camp. Gold does take the somewhat cynical angle that the reported Conte interest in the PSG job serves the purpose of continuing to put pressure on Spurs and Daniel Levy to keep Conte happy, but that’s been the case for months now.
All that said, if any of this is accurate it does set up a potentially tantalizing set of dominoes whereby Pochettino is fired for underachieving, Conte leaves for a “bigger/better” job, and Poch then makes a dramatic return to the club that he still admits to loving and that he took to the Champions League final three years ago. And what a story that would be, right?
So, to summarize — a lot of speculative dominoes have been set up here, but there’s precious little in terms of solid information. All of it is coming through a (generally reliable) aggregator account, relying on a single French newspaper that is NOT L’Equipe. In the end, we’re just waiting to see whether there’s an actual shoe that could hypothetically drop and not just rumors of the existence of said shoe. But if there IS any truth to any of this, be prepared for an even more chaotic summer than last year.