Paris Saint-Germain have tried almost everything in their pursuit of that elusive Champions League title, and their latest attempt is a former Portsmouth assistant.
Since shadowing Alain Perrin on the south coast in 2005 though, Christophe Galtier has racked up a CV few French managers can rival, and could further bolster it by taking on the task of delivering European glory.
Replacing the soon-to-depart Mauricio Pochettino, Nice boss Galtier is one of the many reasons the Argentine failed in his role in Paris, having been beaten to the title by Lille in 2019/20.
Galtier led that side to the rare feat of toppling financial behemoths PSG, managing it with 36-year-old striker Burak Yilmaz as his star player, and a budget that was exclusively funded by sales and developing talent.
Unable to repeat that last season, he did still manage to take Nice from ninth to fifth, going undefeated against PSG in the league with a home win, and knocking them out of the French Cup.
And his success isn’t just recent either, Galtier has been named Ligue 1 manager of the year three times – a joint record – doing so with both Lille and Saint-Etienne in a division dominated by PSG.
For any other normal league or team, Galtier’s progression would see him as a clear choice for the big job, but not in the superstar city of Paris.
Heralded as the most blockbuster transfer window of all time, last summer saw Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Gini Wijnaldum and Gigi Donnarumma move to the French capital, somehow all four world-class stars flopped compared to expectation.
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Pochettino wasn’t deemed up to dealing with the star quality, and there’s some doubt that Galtier also has the gravitas.
Former PSG and Premier League striker Nicolas Anelka said: “I think you need a star to be able to be respected and talk to the players.
“You have to have done things as a player and especially as a coach. If you arrive without any line on your CV it seems difficult to me. It’s even more true for PSG where there are big stars.
“You need a guy who has already won the Champions League or who has done things to be able to be respected.
“You respect the coach who has proven at the top level a lot more. To be able to be respected and say things to Messi, Neymar or [Kylian] Mbappe, you have to have won things.”
The figure in the background during Galtier’s reign will undoubtedly be that of Zinedine Zidane, who was approached by PSG, and is the winner who Anelka wants.
Even putting names such as Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp into the mix, Zidane’s ability to manage stars is arguably unparalleled when it comes to qualifications for the PSG job.
Coming into Real Madrid with no senior management history and the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos to deal with, he picked up three consecutive European Cups, the stuff PSG can only dream of.
An ego isn’t everything though, as his former superior at Pompey, Perrin, explains.
“Christophe is a chameleon,” he said. “He manages to take the temperature of the place and to adapt very quickly.
“He is of a nature not to want to impose a law or a philosophy. He is a man of philosophy. He understands things, he accepts the contexts in which we have to work.”
Former French international Eric Di Meco comes from a different angle, saying that even Zidane would struggle at the Parc des Princes.
“The problem with the PSG coach is that he generally lacks support from his superiors,” he said. “You have to be able to put names on the bench.
“Even Zizou would have this concern. He must be supported by the hierarchy. The South Americans often come home two or three days later than the other players at Christmas parties. Normally, you have to punish them.
“You have to manage to hold this locker room and put a few players on the bench when they are not at the level of their notoriety or their salary. Christophe will have the same problems as the other PSG coaches.”
The key there though may be the ‘support from his superiors’ with PSG making the wiley and potentially crucial move of bringing in well-respected sporting director Luis Campos.
Campos has twice masterminded the near-impossible task of toppling PSG while at both Monaco and Lille, the latter of which he did alongside Galtier, potentially giving a PSG manager full support for the first time.
Whether that’s enough to finally break the jinx in Europe though is anyone’s guess.
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