BORDEAUX — Paris Saint-Germain’s owner Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has selected Thomas Tuchel as the man to replace current coach Unai Emery at the end of the season, a source close to the club has told ESPN FC.
The former Borussia Dortmund coach is expected to sign at least a two-year contract after agreeing terms, but nothing has been signed just yet, the source said.
Once Tuchel has put pen to paper the news might still only be announced at the end of the season to keep the squad motivated during the final days of Emery, who will not be retained after PSG crashed out of the Champions League.
Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed earlier on Saturday that Tuchel has committed his future to another club after turning the German giants down.
Arsenal and Chelsea were also reportedly interested in Tuchel, and though the source did not deny Premier League interest, it confirmed Tuchel’s representatives are now finalising the paperwork for the German to relieve Emery at the end of this season.
According to the source, the choice of Tuchel has come from PSG’s ownership in Qatar, despite chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi favouring Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and Tottenham Hotspur tactician and sporting director Antero Henrique preferring the likes of Porto’s Sergio Conceicao and Andre Villas-Boas.
Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar and founder of PSG owners Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, has taken the decision to go for the German personally. The source said the Emir was most impressed by Tuchel’s ability to speak fluent French and attacking vision for the team’s future style of play.
The source added that although Al-Khelaifi and Henrique pushed hard for their candidates, Al Thani was swayed by Tuchel’s rising-star status and is convinced that he can succeed where Emery and predecessor Laurent Blanc both failed and reach at least the Champions League semifinals.
Available coaches Luis Enrique and Carlo Ancelotti were discarded as candidates once Al Thani’s choice was made clear, but dialogue still exists between PSG and a number of the other parties — notably Pochettino’s, whom Les Parisiens hope to work with sometime in the future, the source said.
Tuchel, 44, is in the process of identifying an assistant to bring with him on his French adventure and is confident that he can prove himself to be the coach that PSG need to realise their European ambitions, according to the source.
Emery could have won an 12 extra months in his contract if he had steered PSG to at least the semifinals of the Champions League, but he saw his team eliminated by Real Madrid in the round of 16, just one season after falling to Barcelona at the same stage.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.