PSG have officially joined Arsenal in the search for a new head coach on Friday, as Unai Emery confirmed to reporters on Friday that he is leaving at the end of the year. Technically, Emery isn’t stepping down; his two-year contract is simply expiring and will not be renewed. That’s a slightly different situation than for Wenger, who was essentially forced to resign after 22 years in charge. But that’s just further technicalities; the point is that both PSG and Arsenal will be looking to snap up the best available candidates from what is already a rather shallow pool.
For PSG, the primary candidate appears to be Thomas Tuchel, whose name has all but dropped out of the rumor mill in general. Now that Emery has let the cat out of the bag, perhaps an official announcement isn’t far behind. But even if the replacement isn’t Tuchel, one that official announcement isn’t likely to mention is that of Antonio Conte, who’s reiterated his intention to stay with Chelsea this summer in Friday’s press conference.
“No [there has been no approach from PSG]. But my answer is always the same. I’m committed to this club. I have a contract with this club.
“My intention is to continue to work with this club.”
-Antonio Conte; source: Evening Standard
Conte has been unwavering in his public commitment to the Chelsea job. And while that’s been interpreted by the cynics as a cash-grab for the £9m severance payment, it’s far more likely that Conte is truly, madly, deeply, actually wanting to stay and continue the project he began two years ago. He’s even already committed to fixing things and doing better next season, claiming that the “truth” of the situation is to “to stay, to stay here, to continue my job here.” That was three weeks ago, and all Chelsea have done since is actually play better, reach the FA Cup final, and stay alive (barely, but alive) in the top four race.
That may not matter in the end as Chelsea appear dead-set on a downgrade of the head coaching position (preferably, and fittingly, on the cheap). Or at least that’s what the media narrative is telling us and has been telling us since the beginning of the season. Eventually, they will be right of course. No manager stays employed at one team as long as Wenger has just done. The Emery-stints are far more common, and even two years is getting to be above average these days. Conte will eventually leave, probably sooner rather than later. Is that “sooner” as soon as this summer? Or is that maybe not such a foregone conclusion anymore? The public sentiment has turned around markedly in the last few weeks — Chelsea author and friend of the blog Mark Worrall recently wrote about this in his column for ESPN in fact — and while it’s impossible to tell what the Chelsea supremos are thinking, it just might behoove them to figure out a way to work together for at least one more season.
Forza, or something.