Well, that didn’t take long. Everyone knew that PSG being knocked out of the Champions League in the Round of 16 will have implications across Europe but the immediacy of it is surely surprising, even to the most pessimistic of us—-or optimistic, depends on where you stand in your assessment of under pressure Chelsea manager, Antonio Conte.
The report comes from Daily Mail’s translation of L’Equipe’s front page article on their newspaper, stating that PSG have made contact with Conte and would like him to take over from their present manager and Europa League specialist, Unai Emery, at the end of the season. Yes, I’m as surprised as you are, at this. (They still make newspapers, that is)
Paris Saint-Germain was knocked out of the Round of 16 of UCL by a Spanish giant for the second time in a row as they lost to Real Madrid in both the legs (3-1 away and 2-1 at home). PSG have somehow regressed after spending around €400m on just Neymar and Mbappe, as last season, at least they managed to win the first leg against Barcelona.
The report claims that PSG have held talks with Antonio’s brother, Gianluca, and that Antonio’s agent, Federico Pastorello, will be in Paris next Tuesday, a day before Chelsea face Barcelona in a season defining clash at Camp Nou. The article on Daily Mail’s website also goes on to report that Conte, “divides opinion” because of his passion, although it can’t be ascertained whether this tidbit is from the same L’Equipe article or Daily Mail’s own sources as the wording is vague.
The Italian reportedly divides opinion in the French capital, with his tactical awareness valued but his passion on the sidelines perhaps viewed as a hindrance.
There also could be issues over his longevity and relationship with the club’s prized asset, Neymar.
L’Equipe reports that Conte would be interested in taking charge at the Parc des Princes for both monetary and competitive reasons. He believes he could mould a side capable of winning Europe’s top prize there.
Source: Daily Mail
If Conte were to indeed leave for the French capital, it would be contrary to what he has been saying all season, which is, that he’d like to honour his contract and stay at Chelsea for at least one and a half season more. However, it’s not out of the realms of possibility as the biggest reason for conflict between the board and Conte has been quality signings, or lack thereof, by the board in the transfer market.
This definitely wouldn’t be an issue given PSG’s reputation of spending freely—-Neymar’s €222m and Mbappe’s €180m moves in the same transfer window being clear examples of this. Besides, who wouldn’t want to manage a front three of Cavani, Mbappe and Neymar, who have contributed 77 goals and 32 assists for PSG this season, across all competitions.
Neymar = €220m— SPORF (@Sporf) March 6, 2018
Mbappe = €180m
Cavani = €65m
Di Maria = €65m
Thiago Silva = €45m
Draxler = €40m
Marquinhos = €30m
Getting knocked out of the UCL in the Last 16 = Priceless pic.twitter.com/emuAgx4c2q
All we can do right now is speculate and hope that Conte and the rest of the team are completely focused on the tasks at hand: Beating Barcelona, deep run in the FA Cup and finishing in the top four; rather than being distracted by all this nonsense which belongs in the silly season.