Blanc faces challenge to overcome doubters at PSG
Published: 07.07.13 / Written by: David Gold
Laurent Blanc walks into the Paris St Germain job with all the authority of an interim former Liverpool manager appointed by a Russian billionaire to replace a Champions League winner.
And there are some stark similarities between the situation facing Blanc as he arrives at the Parc des Princes with that of Rafa Benitez when he came into the Chelsea job.
That they are meant to fill in the gap in time between now and when the anointed chosen one of the owner is available to take over is the most obvious similarity. Roman Abramovich craved Pep Guardiola as his new coach, but in the end had to settle for Jose Mourinho. In the meanwhile Benitez was asked to fill in. Paris St Germain have their sights set on one man in particular Ė Arsenalís Arsene Wenger. That the Frenchmanís contract at the Emirates Stadium is up next year is cause for Paris St Germain to take the interim route, although it is far from sure that Wenger would even consider the move.
For Blanc he hardly comes with the seal of approval. First PSG sounded out Wenger and Jose Mourinho, then moved onto Guus Hiddink, Frank Riijkard, Fabio Capello and Andre Villas Boas. This has been a very public job search which has not painted the Parisians in a great light, after they were so publicly rebuffed by Carlo Ancelottiís desire to go to Real Madrid. Even their other idea, giving Leonardo, the sporting director, the post for a year was shelved after he was banned for seven months by the French league for shoving a referee.
Blanc also has a very tough task to succeed Ancelotti. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is said to have been disappointed at the Italianís departure, and Blanc will need to win him over. Blanc struggled at times with France, given the divisive nature of the national teamís dressing room and will need to have a firm hand to keep the Parisians in check. But it should not be forgotten that he has a good record in management so far. With France he guided them through 23 games unbeaten, including wins over Brazil and Germany, before the European Championships last year in Poland and Ukraine. His team played with some guile, but lost their final two games, in the group stage to Sweden, and then to Spain in the last eight.
Blanc also guided Bordeaux in 2008 to the French title, ending Lyonís seven year hegemony. He then took them to the last eight of the Champions League, the same stage Ancelotti got Paris St Germain to last season. So he has the tools necessary but it will be a huge ask of him to find a way to follow the Italian at the Parc des Princes. He arrives without convincing backing and it may be that his tenure is a short one.