The moment it was announced Kylian Mbappe would be staying at Paris Saint-Germain it became clear that fundamental change was coming to the Parc des Princes club. According to reports, Mbappe’s new contract means he has greater influence over decisions made by his employers and a big decision needed to be made on Mauricio Pochettino.
Not just on Pochettino, but on Leonardo whose three-year tenure as PSG sporting director is expected to be officially ended in the coming days. It is believed Mbappe implored PSG to head in a new direction after an underwhelming 2021/22 season and so candidates for the manager’s and sporting director’s role are now being assessed.
Jose Mourinho has been strongly linked with the job, raising eyebrows from many who have observed the career of the Portuguese coach slide in recent years. Once considered one of the best managers in the sport, Mourinho is now seen as damaged goods. Indeed, he hasn’t finished in the top four of a league since the 2017/18 season.
Roma might have won the Europa Conference League last season, but questions were still asked of Mourinho as the Stadio Olimpico outfit finished a lowly sixth, only one place higher than the season before. If Roma expected a dramatic upturn in fortunes with Mourinho at the helm, they have been left disappointed so far.
Mourinho hasn’t won a league title since leading Chelsea to the Premier League title seven years ago. His methods are no longer considered cutting edge and it’s not clear how he would get the best out of a PSG squad that is much stronger in the attacking areas than it is at the back. On the face of things, Mourinho would appear to be a tactical misfit for the French club.
Not only this, Mourinho has forgotten how to handle big name players, and big egos. PSG is a club with bigger egos than most and they have just given their star player even more power over the decision-making process. None of this suggests Mourinho would be the right man to take PSG forward. He would be an accident waiting to happen at the Parc des Princes.
On top of this, the impending arrival of Luis Campos as PSG’s new sporting director adds another problematic wrinkle to the prospect of Mourinho being named manager. Campos will need complete freedom to mould PSG in his own image, but Mourinho likes to have control in the transfer market to dictate signings. The two men would appear to be incompatible as a pairing.
It’s somewhat remarkable that Mourinho is even being linked with the PSG job, but such speculation says a lot about how the 59-year-old has made himself a footballing brand. His reputation now precedes him and is no longer attached to the results he has achieved on the pitch of late.
Clubs like the idea of Mourinho rather than the reality. Manchester United discovered this to their cost and so did Tottenham Hotspur. PSG might know what they want, but Mourinho is almost certainly not the man to deliver it. Spurs found themselves in a similar situation when they hired Mourinho only to discover two years later that Antonio Conte was truly the manager they wanted.
Other names have been linked to the PSG job – see Christophe Galtier, Zinedine Zidane and Marcelo Gallardo to name a few – but there is a lot of momentum behind Mourinho’s candidacy, perhaps pushed by the man himself who fancies another chance at a Champions League-level club. There is nothing, however, to suggest he deserves one.