Mauricio Pochettino is widely reported to be Thomas Tuchel’s successor as Paris Saint-Germain coach and the number one item on the Argentine’s in-tray will be February’s date with Barcelona.
Tuchel was reportedly given his marching orders on Thursday, four months after guiding the Qatari-backed club to their first ever Champions League final, August’s 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich.
The German, whose dismissal has yet to be officially confirmed by the club, leaves the Parc des Princes having secured a last 16 Champions League clash with Barca and PSG sitting third in Ligue 1, a point shy of leaders Lyon.
Pochettino’s opening match in charge will be January 6’s trip to Saint-Etienne on Ligue 1’s resumption after the winter break.
Then, on February 16, the 48-year-old has his first massive test against his compatriot Lionel Messi’s Catalans, with the return leg on March 6.
Pochettino was let go after five and a half years at Spurs in the aftermath of leading the north London side to their first ever appearance in a Champions League final against Liverpool in 2019.
Although he has yet to win any silverware the former PSG defender’s stock is high in managerial circles.
The Parisians will be keen to complete his signing and avoid missing their man who has been linked to the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Barca in recent months.
Pochettino is due to team up with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and other well-heeled company at PSG’s first post-Christmas training session on January 3.
While the club refrained from making any public comment about the abrupt change in personnel, France World Cup winner Mbappe took to Instagram to note Tuchel’s departure.
“Unfortunately it’s the law of football but no-one will forget your time here,” Mbappe said.
“You wrote a great line of the club’s history and I say thank you coach,” he added.