Paris Saint-Germain have appointed Thomas Tuchel as their new coach, replacing Unai Emery after two years at the helm, the French champions announced on Monday.
Tuchel was most recently the coach at Borussia Dortmund but parted ways in May 2017 amid reported disagreements with the club hierarchy, despite guiding the club to the DFB Pokal title three days earlier. He signed a two-year contract with PSG.
The 44-year-old has been linked to the job for weeks, as sources told ESPN FC in March that owner Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani decided upon Tuchel as Emery’s replacement because he can speak French fluently and has always preferred an attacking style of play.
Emery led PSG to the Ligue 1 title and both French cups this season, but the domestic clean sweep was not enough to renew his expiring contract after consecutive Champions League round-of-16 exits at the hands of Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Tuchel, who replaced Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp at both Mainz in 2009 and Dortmund in 2015, said he was delighted to have been handed the task of continuing PSG’s domination of French football and succeeding where Emery failed in Europe.
“It is with much joy, pride and ambition that I am joining this big club, PSG,” Tuchel said. “I cannot wait to start working with all these great players who are all amongst the best in the world.
“With my coaching staff, we will do everything we can to help the team reach success, including on the international scene. PSG has enormous potential and it is by so far the most exciting proposition in football. I am also impatient to get to know Parc des Princes, a famous European stadium and one that boasts an incredible atmosphere.”
Paris Saint-Germain are delighted to announce that Thomas Tuchel will be the new first-team coach next season !
The German tactician has signed a two year contract with the French champions 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/JoeU0jMqFC
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) May 14, 2018
Tuchel, who started his coaching career with Augsburg’s reserves before taking over Mainz, turned down an offer to replace Jupp Heynckes at Bayern Munich this summer. Tuchel’s debut will be the International Champions Cup clash against Bayern in Klagenfurt, Austria, this summer.
He was chosen by PSG over a list of candidates reported to have included Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri, Chelsea’s Antonio Conte, Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino — a former PSG captain as a player — and Andre Villas-Boas.
The new coach is reported to have met already with PSG superstar Neymar and is expected to make significant changes to the squad before next campaign, as well as potentially move the team’s tactics away from the possession-based 4-3-3 that has become familiar in Paris.
His major task will be to manage a dressing room full of high-profile personalities while working within a well-defined club hierarchy, but captain Thiago Silva said on Sunday that he thinks Tuchel is up to the task.
“He is a coach a little from our school,” Silva said at the Ligue 1 awards in Paris. “He is German but with a Brazilian way of thinking about the game. That will help us plenty.
“He likes plenty of order? In the world of football, a bit of order is necessary. If he arrives with the mentality that many have spoken about, he will add a lot.”
PSG Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi hailed Tuchel’s arrival and firmly stated his belief that the German will prove to be a shrewd appointment.
“I am very happy to welcome Thomas as the new coach of PSG,” the Qatari supremo said. “Thomas is one of the best and most competitive European coaches to have emerged over the last few seasons. He abides by very strong principles of playing spectacular and clinical football that has always been the foundation of German football, especially on the international scene.
“His competitive spirit, his preference for attacking football and his strong character are in line with what we have always wanted for PSG — this style that our loyal supporters have always demanded and admired.”
Emery succeeded Laurent Blanc at PSG in June 2016 after spending parts of four seasons coaching Sevilla, but the Champions League failures convinced the club hierarchy that he was not worthy of an extension on his two-year contract.
The 46-year-old had been expected for weeks to leave the club following the season, though it was not until late last month that he acknowledged having met with Al-Khelaifi and sporting director Antero Henrique to finalise his departure.
“If the new coach needs something from me, I can offer my opinion,” Emery said at the time. “PSG’s project is very solid, and it will continue to grow and add major players. The next coach, whoever it is, will find a big club, with big opportunities — I am there to offer some help.”
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.