Paris Saint-Germain have sacked coach Thomas Tuchel after just over two and a half years in charge at Parc des Princes and CBS Sports sources have been told that former captain Mauricio Pochettino is in line to take over.
The German had six months remaining on his contract and led the French giants to last season's Champions League final but a difficult start to the current season with four losses already and a close shave in UCL Group H before ultimately finishing top weakened his position.
Tuchel, 47, won two Ligue 1 titles, one Coupe de France, one Coupe de la Ligue and two Trophee des Champions titles during his spell in the French capital but grew critical of the nine-time Championnat winners and sporting director Leonardo in the wake of last campaign's UCL final run.
"I would like to thank Thomas and his staff for all they have contributed to the club" said PSG Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi in an official statement. "Thomas has put a lot of energy and passion into the job, and we will of course remember the good moments we shared together. I wish him all the best for the future."
Pochettino, 48, played for PSG between 2001-03 and was made captain for the 2002-03 term and has never hidden his desire to one day return to Paris.
"I have always said that one day it would be a pleasure to manage a big club like Paris," the former Tottenham Hotspur coach told RMC Sport back in 2016. "It is part of my dreams."Pochettino led Spurs to the 2018-19 Champions League final but is yet to win major silverware across spells in charge of the Londoners, Southampton or Espanyol.
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Meanwhile, Tuchel spoke with Sport1 in his homeland in the build-up to the 4-0 Ligue 1 win over Strasbourg which turned out to be his final match in charge.
"Honestly, in the first six months, I was like: 'am I still a coach or a sporting politician, a sports minister?'" said the former Borussia Dortmund and Mainz 05 boss. "Sometimes, it is very easy. Sometimes, it is a big challenge. A club like PSG has many influences that go far beyond concentrated interests of the team.
"I do not know if I still need to go higher, higher and higher still. I just love football. At a club like this, it is not always just football. I say to myself: 'I just want to be a coach.'"
Mauricio Pochettino has reached an agreement with Paris Saint-Germain, confirmed. Now it’s time to prepare the contracts, sort out the last details [as the choice of the techincal staff] and sign.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 24, 2020
Here-we-go soon! The new era is starting 🇫🇷🤝 #PSG #Pochettino https://t.co/VVEGCphwBB
According to CBS Sports sources, former PSG midfielder Thiago Motta was on the shortlist to replace Tuchel in the event of a drop into the Europa League -- despite an unsuccessful first foray into management with Genoa.
Ex-Juventus tactician Massimiliano Allegri was also under consideration, but PSG have opted to go with a former player who they consider to be the future of coaching.
With Les Parisiens, Pochettino will also make a swift return to Catalonia -- where his coaching career began with Espanyol -- as the Ligue 1 giants have drawn Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 with the first leg taking place at Camp Nou in February.
It is not the first time that Leonardo has sacked a PSG coach during a winter break as Antoine Kombouare was dismissed in late 2011 to make way for Carlo Ancelotti at the beginning of the Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) era.
PSG's official comment on the parting of ways with Tuchel after an "in-depth analysis of its sporting situation" came five days after the decision was communicated to the Krumbach native due to the legal issues linked to his departure and Pochettino's hiring.