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Friday, June 21, 2013
Dugarry tips Blanc for PSG job

Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Christophe Dugarry has said former France team-mate Laurent Blanc would be the ideal man to take over at Paris Saint-Germain.

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Having seen their four-man shortlist exhausted with their failure to extricate Fabio Capello from his job with Russia earlier this week, the Ligue 1 champions have reportedly turned to Blanc, who has been out of a job since leaving the French national team after Euro 2012.

The former Bordeaux coach, who won the French title with Les Girondins in 2008-09, has already met PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in Paris in late May, and reportedly showed himself to be open to the short-term deal turned down by Michael Laudrup and Andre Villas-Boas.

With candidates and time before the start of pre-season training running short, Blanc could provide PSG with a long-sought successor to Carlo Ancelotti, who made clear of his intention to quit the club more than a month ago. Radio station RTL were even reporting on Thursday morning that the two parties had reached an agreement on Blanc's salary.

Dugarry, who won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 alongside Blanc, and is now a respected pundit, told Le Parisien the setbacks that the club have suffered in finding a man who will take the job may well prove a blessing in disguise.

"It's an excellent thing for Paris. And he's not a second or third choice. He has enormous legitimacy. As a player he played in the biggest clubs and his past as a coach and national team coach are more than respectable. It's honestly a good thing the best team in France is coached by a Frenchman," Dugarry said.

"He's in a paradise for a coach. There are dozens who wanted to go to PSG. Laurent is an ambitious bloke. He wants to win. That's why he turned down Roma, because he didn't feel a unanimous will to win. Laurent's a simple chap. He's not come for the money. He's already got that. He's coming to know whether he can coach a top team. He's firmly convinced of that. Now, he's going to be able to prove it."

Given France's tempestuous Euro 2012 campaign, which led to two players, Samir Nasri and Jeremy Menez, receiving bans for their behaviour, and two others being reprimanded, there is a question mark over Blanc's ability to handle PSG's reputedly volatile dressing room.

Dugarry, however, believes his friend is aware that the reality within the squad in the French capital is very different to that perceived from the outside.

"This story about stars' egos, it's completely stupid. Those who cause problems are fake good players, the guy who thinks he's better than he is because he's had two good games and his entourage tell him he's the new [Zinedine] Zidane. I played alongside the real Zidane for 20 years, and he never said: 'My coach is an idiot and I'm the one who's right'," the former Bordeaux, Marseille and Barcelona star said.

"Those who play at PSG, the Ibrahimovics, the Thiago Silvas and the others, are guys who've been around and who've accepted competition. Those men know the importance of dialogue and respect of the coach. Laurent won't have problems with them. PSG's players are perfectly manageable, and Laurent knows that. PSG isn't a club that's ruined by egos. There are other clubs like that, but not there."

While Blanc will surely come much cheaper than the 6-7 million-a-year Ancelotti was costing the club, his reputation as having a penchant for an attractive style of play, established at Bordeaux, is also a positive factor in the eyes of the club's owners, Qatar Sports Investments, who hope not only to win but to do so with panache.

"It's a bit early to say, but I think it's likely to be agreeable [the team's style]," Dugarry said. "Honestly, when he was in charge of Bordeaux, it was amazing. It was magical. It was mostly down to the way he spoke to the players, and gave them confidence. At the same time, however, you have to be lucid. Laurent will have to show what he can do in less than two months."

Blanc will be able to count on the advice of former France international and PSG midfielder Claude Makelele, who has added two years to his contract with the club which was due to expire on June 30, according to L'Equipe.

Makelele, who ended his career in 2011 and was appointed assistant coach to Ancelotti in December of the same year, is reportedly highly thought of by Al-Khelaifi, while his pedigree as a player has also earned him the esteem of the first-team squad.

Although his lack of the French DEPF (Diploma of a Professional Coach) means the ex-Real Madrid and Chelsea man cannot take charge of the first team in matches, he could take the squad's initial training sessions upon their return from holiday at the start of July if Ancelotti's successor is not installed.




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