Skip to content

Is Laurent Blanc the right choice for Paris Saint-Germain?

Jun 22, 2013, 3:10 PM EDT

Laurent Blanc

Laurent Blanc is a highly respected figure around French football, an accomplished World Cup winner who did things the right way. Later, he was nothing short of sensational in his first managerial appointment at Bordeaux in France’s Ligue 1.

Upon his appointment to the national team post, there was big hope that Blanc could corral the raging egos inside the talented French team – one that had so thoroughly embarrassed itself with sorry infighting and even a one-day player strike in South Africa in 2010.

Blanc did make quite a first impression, putting his foot on the situation by initially suspending all 23 players who appeared on the French roster in 2010. The bold call paid off as results began turning, seeing the team safely into the 2012 European Championship.

But some of the old demons resurfaced last summer during the tournament, suggesting that Blanc had not totally tamed the French proclivity of late for selfish action, an apparent inability to handle pressure and locker room discord.

And that brings us to PSG, the current French Ligue 1 champions, where Blanc will apparently soon take over.

Blanc certainly knows Ligue 1. Clearly, he knows what it takes to win, having so expertly guided Bordeaux. But the ambition and expectation at Bordeaux is night-and-day compared to PSG, where the team’s fabulously rich Qatari ownership will expect titles, plural. A Ligue 1 crown will be mere “starting point” in terms of expectation; how far the team advances in Champions League will define Blanc’s success around Parc des Prince.

And how PSG does in Champions League will revolve around the Blanc’s ability to manage the locker room, to keep all the fabulous pieces spinning in the same direction the way Jose Mourinho generally did at Real Madrid, the way Sir Alex Ferguson always did at Manchester United, the way Jupp Heynckes did en route to Bayern’s recent Champions League crown.

Former French international Christophe Dugarry says Blanc is the right man for the job, but the 1998 World Cup winner also admits that he’s friends with “Lolo,” so his opinion is clearly going to be affected.

PSG certainly does not have the pedigree of its current European contemporaries, but it does have the payroll. That apparently bottomless transfer budget – last year’s jaw-dropping shopping spree saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lucas Moura, Marco Verratti and Gregory van der Weil imported – certainly comes with its own prickly set of personnel management hassles.

And think about this: As the parade of established managers apparently rejected PSG’s advances – reports had linked Andre Villas-Boas, Fabio Capello, Guus Hiddink, Michael Laudrup and Frank Rijkaard to the position – was the potential for disharmony in the player ranks a factor for some of these respected figures?

Latest Posts
  1. Barcelona’s Xavi set to sign deal in Qatar; will not join New York City FC, MLS

    Mar 26, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    Barcelona's midfielder Xavi Hernandez ce Barcelona's midfielder Xavi Hernandez ce

    Xavi is heading to Qatar on a three-year deal, will get paid $11 million per season.

  2. Soccer’s rich list: Who are the top 20 highest earning players?

    Mar 26, 2015, 2:08 PM EDT

    Lionel Messi, Neymar Lionel Messi, Neymar

    Here’s a look at the players with the highest revenue in 2014.

  3. VIDEO: Watch Alexis Sanchez play the piano to John Legend song

    Mar 26, 2015, 12:50 PM EDT

    Sanchez piano

    When he’s not ripping apart Premier League defenses, Sanchez loves to unwind by tickling the ivory.

  4. Report: Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano interesting Liverpool, Arsenal

    Mar 26, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT

    Turkey v Brazil International friendly match Turkey v Brazil International friendly match

    Shakhtar’s star striker set to leave in December when his contract runs out.

  5. Morgan Schneiderlin wants Southampton exit if they fail to make UEFA Champions League

    Mar 26, 2015, 10:21 AM EDT

    Schneiderlin Getty Images

    Saints midfielder speaks of his desire to play in the UCL, reassess his future this summer.

  6. Theo Walcott denies fall out with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger over contract talks

    Mar 26, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

    Arsenal v Leicester City - Premier League Getty Images

    Walcott denies a “bust-up” with Wenger over contract talks.

  7. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil believes he can win Ballon d’Or award to silence critics

    Mar 26, 2015, 7:58 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Premier League AP

    The German international playmaker is aiming to join the Messi’s and Ronaldo’s of this world.

  8. Union’s Zach Pfeffer given 2nd game for elbow, Manneh also suspended

    Mar 25, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT

    Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 11.20.07 PM

    The MLS disciplinary committee was busy after this last weekend.

  9. Messi, Argentina attend Wizards vs Pacers NBA game

    Mar 25, 2015, 9:54 PM EDT

    Argentina AP

    All the priceless images and marketable moments from the Argentinian national team’s visit to the Verizon Center.

  10. Sami Khedira confirms he will leave Real Madrid at the end of the season

    Mar 25, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    Khedira Getty Images

    Having won just about every possible trophy in his five years at the Bernabeu, the German is moving on.

  11. Perry Kitchen not suspended for apparent stamp at Red Bull Arena

    Mar 25, 2015, 7:58 PM EDT

    Kitchen AP

    The D.C. United midfielder appears to be getting off lightly, and the Red Bull captain isn’t pleased.

  12. Late Podolski goal gives Germany 2-2 draw with Australia

    Mar 25, 2015, 7:19 PM EDT

    Podolski Getty Images

    Germany nearly fell disappointingly to the Asian Cup winners but Podolski’s 48th international goal brought them level.

  13. Postgame reaction: Bradley disappointed, Klinsmann unmoved

    Mar 25, 2015, 6:32 PM EDT

    Klinsmann Getty Images

    Michael Bradley was disappointed, but Jurgen Klinsmann somehow took positives from the game.

  14. Player ratings: How did the USMNT fare in defeat to Denmark?

    Mar 25, 2015, 5:20 PM EDT

    Another USMNT friendly, another second half collapse.

  15. Denmark 3-2 USMNT: Defensive folly reel, Bendtner’s hat trick undo Altidore’s star turn

    Mar 25, 2015, 5:12 PM EDT

    FBL-EURO-2016-FRIENDLY-DEN-USA Getty Images

    Jozy Altidore deserved better for his goal and assist, but the United States again looked porous at the back in a one-goal loss to 28th ranked Denmark.

Featured video

Week 30: Headline PL moment