PARIS • Paris Saint-Germain yesterday finally confirmed the sacking of coach Thomas Tuchel, who had been at the club since 2018, but did not name his successor, widely reported to be former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.
The German was fired by the French treble winners on Christmas Eve, four months after leading them to their first Champions League final, in which they lost to Bayern Munich.
However, his exit was ratified only yesterday because of legal wrangles over a severance package said to be around £5 million (S$9 million).
"After an in-depth analysis of its sporting situation, Paris Saint-Germain decided to terminate Thomas Tuchel's contract," the club said in a statement.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi added: "I would like to thank Thomas Tuchel and his staff for everything they brought to the club.
"Thomas has put a lot of energy and passion into his work, and of course, we will remember the good times we shared together. I wish him the best for his future."
In his time at Parc des Princes, Tuchel won league titles, including sweeping all three domestic trophies last season, but like his predecessors, he paid the price for failing to deliver the only piece of silverware that matters to the board, the Champions League.
Since the Qatari takeover in 2011, PSG have appointed four different coaches and their soon-to-be fifth boss - he has already agreed contractual terms - will be tasked with the same objective.
It will be a homecoming for Argentinian Pochettino, who played for the club from 2001-03, and told RMC Sport in an 2016 interview that it was "a dream of mine" to take charge of the star-studded squad, football's second billion-dollar team after Manchester City.
With PSG on a winter break, his first match in charge after being booted out by Spurs in November last year will presumably be the Ligue 1 trip to Saint-Etienne next Wednesday.
Pochettino was let go after 51/2 years at the Premier League club despite leading them to their first Champions League final last year, when they lost to Liverpool.
Although he has yet to win any silverware as a manager, his stock is still high after Spurs qualified for the competition four seasons in a row under his watch.
His arrival will please compatriots such as Mauro Icardi, Angel di Maria and Leandro Paredes and he is reportedly keen to bring in new faces like former Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen, who is out of favour at Inter Milan.
The 48-year-old is also open to a loan move for Spurs midfielder Dele Alli, who has been largely frozen out by his manager Jose Mourinho with only one league start this season.
And according to Le Parisien, the real blockbuster move will come in the summer with Barcelona and Argentina skipper Lionel Messi his No. 1 target should the forward not extend his contract at the Nou Camp and leave on a free transfer.
Former PSG coach Luis Fernandez believes that his former team have made a right decision, telling France Football magazine: "He knows the house, knows the club.
"Pochettino has this style where he manages to mix everything together you like as a footballer. When you have a coach like him, you want to fight for him, play for him and do good things for him."
Still, PSG players like Kylian Mbappe had sympathy for Tuchel, who departs with a 75.6 per cent win rate - the highest success percentage for a coach in Ligue 1 history.
"It is sadly the law of football," the 2018 World Cup winner wrote on Instagram. "Nobody will forget your time here. You wrote a wonderful part of the club's history and I say to you thank you coach."
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS