Pursuing a manager capable of transforming the expensively assembled squad led in 2018 by Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Ángel Di María into contenders for the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain turned to the respected Thomas Tuchel. Admired for his influence when succeeding Jürgen Klopp at Mainz and then Borussia Dortmund, and for reshaping what was so distinctive a team, the then-44-year-old inspired an improvement that for the first time took PSG to the final of the Champions League.
Like Julian Nagelsmann, Tuchel was identified by none other than the influential Ralf Rangnick as a coach of promise and has quickly become one of Europe’s leading managers. “He’s a fantastic coach, you can really see his influence,” Klopp said of Tuchel’s suitability to PSG. “I know many people who have worked with him and respect him immensely. You cannot aim for the Champions League only by spending money, it does not work. It takes a good organisation, all the other clubs are not blind, we also do our job well so we need the right tools at the right time. Thomas obviously has them.”
Confirmation of Tuchel’s departure from PSG in December 2020 came as little surprise given his increasingly strained relationship with the club’s hierarchy, but what would prove significantly more surprising is if one of Europe’s other leading clubs doesn’t soon appoint him. The race to recruit one of the continent’s most respected managers has perhaps already begun.