Paris Saint-Germain are still struggling in their long, desperate search for a manager for next season.
It is strange that a club which can attract Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura and even David Beckham to play for them cannot find a coach but that is precisely what has happened to one of the world’s richest clubs.
The current incumbent, Carlo Ancelotti, is on his way to Real Madrid but before he goes PSG need a replacement. The most desirable options, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, have gone to more established clubs – the 2013 and 2012 Champions League winners, respectively – forcing PSG to look elsewhere. Rafael Benitez, an early contender, chose Napoli.
Nothing seems to be coming off for them. The latest target, Frank Rijkaard, was reported on Thursday to have turned the job down. Rijkaard, who had been out of elite management for nearly three years.
Before him it was Fabio Capello, reported to be close to the PSG job earlier in the week but now staying as Russian national manager until at least next year’s world cup.
There was Andre Villas-Boas, approached by PSG but deciding to stay at Tottenham Hotspur, where he might be able to build something that will last for longer. Guus Hiddink is staying with his own team too, Anzhi Makhachkala.
And then, of course, there is Arsene Wenger, the long-standing favourite pick of the PSG hierarchy but with one year left on his Arsenal deal and a fierce loyalty to existing contracts.
Wenger, hovering off in London, might well be a possibility in 2014 but there is another season to play between now and then. They have a French title to defend, with Monaco likely to threaten them, and have the players to take a better swing at the Champions League this time. But they cannot do anything without a coach. The club’s top management, of Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Leonardo, have proven remarkably unable to make this most important appointment, spending the last few weeks desperately scrambling around for anyone who could do the job.
Who, seriously, is left? Roberto Mancini knows how to turn money into trophies, having done so at Internazionale and Manchester City. Michael Laudrup also has that glamour factor and his future at Swansea City is uncertain. Laurent Blanc won Ligue 1 in 2009 but has done not much since.
Surely, eventually, they will appoint someone. And then Ancelotti will go to Madrid and the summer’s transfers will start in earnest. But until then it is a very sorry sight indeed.