Go back to the summer of 2021, and most football fans were keen to stress that Paris Saint-Germain had ‘won’ the transfer window. A combination of signings like Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum, Sergio Ramos, and Lionel Messi – all on free transfers – had fans salivating. Here was a star-studded depth cast to help finally give PSG power on and off the bench. Crucially, the landing of Messi meant PSG could now line-up with Messi, Neymar Jr. and Kylian Mbappe as part of their forward line.
However, it would be fair to say that despite winning the title things have not gone as planned. Indeed, the recent Player of the Year awards were announced, with Mbappe the only POTY nominee from the ‘big three’. It was a slap in the face for what has bene arguably one of the biggest sporting busts in modern history.
A pathetic exit from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid had fans furious. So, too, did the generally arrogant and lackadaisical approach that was taken to many league games. Despite being 15-points clear on the day they won the title, PSG lifted the title to a half-empty Parc de Princes. Fans are angry, they are sick of the clubs failings in Europe, and they find many matches are dull and uninspired.
Many matches are won late by a moment of brilliance, most typically from Mbappe. Other performers who are more regarded by the fans, the likes of Angel di Maria, see far less of the ball than they would for other teams. So, fans are naturally frustrated at the lack of meaningful progress being made by the club on and off the pitch. The POTY awards are a further reflection of that.
Mauricio Pochettino snubbed for Coach of the Year award
Another sign that things are going wrong in Paris comes from Pochettino himself being snubbed. The under-pressure Argentine looks almost certain to leave the club despite his own protestations. With numerous leaks from the club in 2021 suggesting he was unhappy and wanted to go to Manchester United, most expected him to leave the club in 2022 regardless.
However, the United job has been filled by Erik ten Haag – and Pochettino could yet be sacked. His only hope would that be another juggernaut in the game sacks their coach to make way for him. However, with just a solitary league win to show in two years at PSG, and two consecutive pitiful European exits, it would be unlikely that he would be offered a job by one of the elite.
Respected Ligue 1 coaches such as Jorge Sampaoli, Christophe Galtier, Julien Stephan, and former PSG coach Antoine Kombouare are expected to win the COTY award. This leaves Pochettino both looking less impressive again, and could be another reason why the coach struggles to find a job at the elite end of the game again.
Having been expected to dominate the French game, the former Tottenham coach has done nothing of the sort. Just as the big-name arrivals has mostly been busts, so too has the Pochettino era in general.