Why Paris Saint-Germain must sack Unai Emery at season's end
Ever since the Qatari Investment took charge, Paris Saint-Germain has renowned itself as a club anxious to reach European football’s summit. To achieve such a feat, Unai Emery was hired to replace Laurent Blanc as manager. Emery had earlier guided Sevilla to three consecutive Europa League champions. While a risk, he appeared to possess the quality to win the Champions League trophy with a bigger and better squad at his disposal.
After the resounding 4-0 victory at the Parc des Princes against Barcelona in the 2016/17 Champions League Round of 16, many thought Emery had delivered. The return leg demonstrated otherwise.
Like a dark magic, PSG were spellbound as Barca dismantled them 6-1 to reverse the fixture. It was a night for the history books. Emery seemed totally confused whether to attack and chase more goals or park the bus and protect the 4-goal lead. His tactical flaws were revealed. Before he could wake up, he and his men were sent packing in embarrassing fashion.
As if that was not enough, Emery failed to defend the Ligue 1 title for the first time in four years. Leonardo Jardim’s young AS Monaco side pipped him to the crown. Emery had made the season a nightmare for Parisians.
Many expected Emery to be shown the door after the woeful campaign. The board decided to give him a chance at redemption.
To help him, the owners flexed their financial muscle to purchase Barcelona’s Neymar and Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe. The duo would form a deadly attack trio with Edinson Cavani while weakening two enemies in the bargain. In his second campaign, the Spaniard possessed a squad that made him an instant favourite for the Champions League title. PSG topped their group ahead of Bayern Munich and drew defending Champions Real Madrid in the first knockout round.
On paper, PSG were touted to proceed to the quarterfinals. Real had already been eliminated from the Copa del Rey and were still languishing in fourth position in La Liga. PSG arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu brimming with confidence.
Los Blancos trampled on that confidence, defeating PSG in both legs on a 5-2 aggregate scoreline. For the second time, Emery had been sent packing by a Spanish juggernaut.
Had this happened to any other team of PSG’s calibre, the manager's head would have been on the chopping block immediately. We all witnessed how Bayern replaced Carlo Ancelotti with Jupp Heynckes despite the Italian only losing out in the Champions League quarterfinals in controversial fashion the previous season. PSG must find a better manager.
There are many who could get the job done. In my opinion, Arsene Wenger would be the perfect candidate.
Wenger's 22-year reign at the Emirates is coming to an end. PSG would offer the 68-year-old a fresh challenge. He has achieved all he can at Arsenal, overstaying his time. PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi is reported to have already reached out to the Frenchman.
In football it is said you must take your chances. PSG’s Qatari owners did not when the opportunity arose to sack Unai Emery. Now the chance has come again. This time they cannot afford to miss.