For the second season in a row, Paris Saint-Germain got knocked out of the Champions League’s Round of 16. However, this season the expectations were as big as ever since their stakes increased after the purchase of Barcelona and Brazilian superstar Neymar, along with Ligue 1’s breakout talent Kylian Mbappé to fortify PSG’s status as a (potential) European giant.
Alas, the end result was far from ideal as PSG collapsed under the weight of their own expectations and one thing was for certain: ramifications of this disaster would be experienced across Europe as their hunt for a new
toy manager would unsettle even the biggest of clubs.
Mario Balotelli: "Paris are like Guingamp, just another Ligue 1 team, I don't care if they're 'PSG'. Money buys you players - not a team. I only watched them once this season, against Real Madrid & they deserved to lose." pic.twitter.com/yExQnaUc2c— Footy Jokes (@Footy_Jokes) March 22, 2018
Of course, Chelsea was dragged into this as our present manager Antonio Conte was one amidst many hailed to be the man who would be made in charge of helping this
team ‘gathering of individualistic superstars’ to progress to the next level. Unfortunately, you’d be naive to think that this was the end of the story as this is silly season and silly season never ceases to surprise — even when we are not in it!
A few days ago, rather reliable PSG news source Paris United reported that Luis Enrique was the favourite for the job as he was favoured by golden boy Neymar.
The trip to Brazil by [PSG president] Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, accompanied by his sports director [Antero Henrique], was the scene of privileged exchanges between them and Neymar. The debates focused on several names including two names in particular: Antonio Conte and Luis Enrique, but Neymar was not interested in beating around the bush.
One, he did not hesitate to announce that he was not a fan of football advocated by Antonio Conte. The meeting between the representatives of the Italian coach and the PSG board, which turned out to be positive, will probably remain a dead letter in the face of what looks like a veto by Neymar.
Two, he affirmed his preference, namely Luis Enrique. The attacker was very clear: It is imperative that ‘whatever is required’ must be done in order to finalize Enrique’s move to PSG.
-Source: Paris United
Of course, if a reliable news outlet — at least when it comes to PSG — is reporting something like this, you’d expect it to finally be over, right?
You’d be wrong again, young padawan. What did I say? Repeat after me: Silly season never ceases to surprise.
Last night, there was another (!) twist in the tale as reports emerged from RMC and Le Parisien — both reliable French news outlets — that Enrique has in fact turned down the job offered by the PSG head office. Feel free to have a look yourself: Luis Enrique will not be the new coach of PSG - Le Parisien and the report by RMC on the same subject.
2 - Luis Enrique is the 2nd Barcelona manager to win back-to-back La Liga games vs Real Madrid at Bernabeu, after Guardiola (2). Farewell pic.twitter.com/aenXhXsmrj— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 23, 2017
Now, why Enrique would do such a thing? Especially since the man is unemployed right now and PSG have one of the strongest squads in Europe. A bigger question would be, how is Chelsea involved all of this?
Well, both these questions have the same answer. The reports from last night state that the reason behind Enrique’s refusal is that he is already on his way to Chelsea. Here’s an excerpt from the article by Le Parisien:
The former coach of FC Barcelona, who was at the helm of the Catalan team during their famous victory over PSG in 2016 and winner of the Champions League in 2015, hasn’t signed a contract yet and was even preferred by Neymar and his other Brazilian counterparts [with the exception of Thiago Silva who prefers Ancelotti], will in fact not be joining PSG. The reason being that Enrique is heading towards Chelsea instead.
-Source: Le Parisien
Of course, this should be taken with a pinch of salt as the reliability of a news outlets doesn’t guarantee anything. At the very least, it means that the report isn’t completely false and a work of fiction. Still, a lot can change between now and the end of the season and the best we can do right now is wait and watch.
Wait and watch, as silly season draws near...
According to some French and Italian media, PSG would prefer Maurizio Sarri over both Antonio Conte and Luis Enrique - the spectacular offensive style of Sarri's teams would be decisive and are a factor.— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) March 22, 2018