Is PSG target Galtier worth it and can he manage the personalities of Mbappe, Neymar and Messi?
Conquering France is simply not enough as far as Paris Saint-Germain is concerned.
The elusive Champions League trophy has been the top priority in Paris for nearly a decade, with Mauricio Pochettino becoming PSG’s latest victim last month despite leading the club to domestic success.
His predecessors Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel also left the French capital as Ligue 1 champions, each contributing to the club’s growing trophy cabinet.
Christophe Galtier leads the way to replace Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain
The former PSG manager was sacked by the club last month as part of a hierarchical reshuffle
Though sacked in June, Pochettino sealed his fate four months earlier in the Champions League round of 16 when Karim Benzema’s second-half hat-trick once again buried PSG’s European dream.
The heads of Parc de Princes spent a massive £17million in compensation to ax Pochettino, a treasury splash that must have been done with a replacement in mind.
With Zinedine Zidane reportedly out of the running due to a desire to continue the track in France, Christophe Galtier has accelerated to pole position as a new favorite to take the PSG hot seat.
Although a household name in France, Galtier is a relative unknown outside of Ligue 1, after spells in Saint-Etienne, Lille and Nice.
But despite his modest management portfolio, the 55-year-old head coach has not needed the support of a European giant to succeed.
Zinedine Zidane dropped out of the running last week, reportedly interested in the job in France
Galtier took Lille from relegation candidates in 2018-19 to Ligue 1 champions two seasons later, retroactively preventing PSG from winning five domestic titles in five campaigns.
His tactical approach continued to earn respect at Nice, with former Juventus and two-time Serie A winner Mario Lemina praising the ‘winning culture’ Galtier has managed to cultivate since his arrival at the Allianz Riviera in 2021.
Nice finished fifth in the division under Galtier last season and was rewarded with a qualifying spot in the Europa Conference League.
However, PSG have shown they are willing to accept nothing short of perfection and Galtier is expected to check the star-studded list of off-field personalities while delivering impeccable results.
Galtier took Nice to fifth in Ligue 1 last season, their best result since 2017
Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi would likely mellow if the allure of Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti drove PSG’s side, but Galtier lacks the same authoritative presence to command respect – at least on the surface.
The French giants threw everything at Mbappe’s contract extension last month in an attempt to deter him from Real Madrid, giving him a reported salary of €50 million, a €100 million signing bonus and – perhaps most importantly – a large say in to provide the strategic business of the club. †
If Galtier were to come off PSG’s job, he would be thrown into uncharted waters, forced to struggle between the interests of the club and the interests of an individual.
sports post have identified three key factors that could help Nice’s boss thrive at the Parc de Princes ahead of his likely appointment.
PSG have re-signed star player Kylian Mbappe after coming close to signing from Real Madrid last month
Exploiting the flanks
When Galtier took over from Marcelo Bielsa in Lille in December 2017, the French club found themselves in dire straits, entrenched in the relegation zone and unable to sign players into the January transfer window due to concerns over financial fair play.
His tactical set-up was crucial in turning the tide, and a 2-1 win against Dijon with just one game left in the 2017-18 season was enough to survive by a single point.
In a bid to adhere to Financial Fair Play, Lille was forced to sell a handful of key players, including Yves Bissouma and Ibrahim Amadou to free up funds, and pressed the reset button with a much-changed team.
The 55-year-old’s crowning achievement led Les Dogues to a Ligue 1 win in 2021
In 2018/19, Les Dogues finished second in Ligue 1, achieving a Champions League qualifier for the first time since 2012.
In the summer, star players left again as Nicolas Pepe and Thiago Mendes sought new pastures, but Galtier continued to exceed expectations, winning the Ligue 1 title in 2020-21.
Despite regular player retirements, the tactical section remained a reliable constant in Lille, with the 55-year-old practicing two formations – a wide 4-2-3-1 and a flowing 4-4-2 – with a wealth of success.
In his seemingly favored 4-4-2 form, Galtier’s joy of attack was mainly found on the flanks, with the fullbacks easily supporting the wingers to create overlaps while both strikers occupy the penalty area in the hope of accurate deliveries.
Striker Jonathan David broke through under Galtier during Lille’s title rise in 2020-21
Jonathan David played a more fluid role alongside Burak Yilmaz in the front two as he had the pace and agility to run into the channels and support the wingers in wide areas.
David became so proficient in drifting wide that he has since acted as an excellent winger in Lille on several occasions under both Galtier and Jocelyn Gourvennec.
The Frenchman’s winger success could flourish in Paris, as the attacking trio of Mbappe, Neymar and Messi each enjoy occupying large areas, with the central striker swapping fluidly down the middle.
Developing and improving players
Galtier has yet to share a high-profile dressing room, but his proven track record of developing and improving players could pay off at PSG.
Even if the 55-year-old keeps the attacking trio on his side, there are still the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Marco Verratti to deal with.
But as with any new appointment, a new boss is given a few months—in most cases—to instill his philosophy and methods on the team.
Galtier would face the personalities of Neymar (pictured), Mbappe and Lionel Messi
Part of Galtier’s ‘winning culture’ in Nice is developing the current crop of players, rather than pushing for new recruits every transfer window.
Of course, additions are needed to bolster any team, but Galtier tends to focus on cleaning up his own house before venturing outside.
Surrounded by talent in all areas, PSG have a side that is more than capable of Champions League success on paper, but they have quite frankly failed in major knockout matches.
In Lille, Galtier reinvented Renato Sanches, a disapproved Bayern, discovering a goalkeeping gem in French international Mike Maignan and developing the young Sven Botman into one of Europe’s most sought-after centre-halfs.
Newcastle and AC Milan reportedly lead the race for Lille’s Sven Botman this summer
The manager kept this ability at Nice last season when Amine Gouiri, transfer target for Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund, broke through a season with 12 goals and 10 assists in all competitions.
As a collective, he also took Nice to their highest top finish since 2016-17.
With an embarrassment of wealth available to PSG, player development should be the top priority in the French capital next season and Galtier could well be a smart deal with this in mind.
Luis Campos relationship
Galtier has fostered a positive and fruitful relationship in Lille with Luis Campos, who was hired as PSG’s new football adviser earlier this month.
The Portuguese sporting director will now oversee the club’s recruitment, organization and performance following Leonardo Araujo’s departure in May.
Campos made a name for himself at AS Monaco between 2013 and 2016, overseeing several purchases for cheap prices, including Bernardo Silva (£14 million), Thomas Lemar (£3.6 million) and Fabinho (£5.4 million), which were later sold via blockbuster transfers.
Luis Campos oversaw the deals of Renato Sanches, Sven Botman and Victor Osimhen in Lille
The 57-year-old continued to rake in bargains for Galtier in Lille, recruiting on a tight budget that fitted seamlessly into the Frenchman’s system.
During his three-year stint with the club he brought in Renato Sanches (£18 million), Yusuf Yazici (£15.75 million), Jonathan Bamba (free), Jonathan Ikone (£4.5 million), Botman (£7. 2 million) in. ) and David (£24.3 million).
Campos was also very adept at offloading Galtier’s players for high prices, selling Pepe to Arsenal for £72m in 2019 and Victor Osimhen to Napoli for £67.5m a year later.
With a few transfer windows at PSG, the duo were able to recruit star talent for the club while also selling unwanted players.