Paris Saint-Germain FC

Could Ibrahimovic Follow Beckham out of PSG After Ancelotti News?

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 18: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of PSG celebrates with team mate David Beckham after scoring to make it 3-0 during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain FC and Stade Brestois 29 at Parc des Princes on May 18, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Jonathan JohnsonFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2013

After Paris Saint-Germain secured the club’s first Ligue 1 title in 19 years last week, they bid farewell to David Beckham with a 3-1 victory over Brest on Saturday.

A day later though, coach Carlo Ancelotti told the club that he wants to quit PSG for Real Madrid. The story first surfaced on Sunday afternoon, broken by beIN Sport’s French branch (via ESPN FC), before sporting director Leonardo confirmed the negative talks swiftly afterwards to L’Equipe (in French).

The Brazilian did reveal that the request has been denied by the club. Les Parisiens are intent on keeping the two-time Champions League-winning coach for next season as part of their assault on Europe’s top prize.

But the Italian then went further by declaring to Canal+ (via ESPNFC) shortly after taking the Ligue 1 coach of the year award along with Saint-Etienne’s Christophe Galtier, "We had a meeting with the president and Leonardo, I asked, because I have a contract, to leave the club."

"It's not easy because I have a very good relationship with everyone. It's not the moment to explain why I want to leave the club and perhaps I'll never explain it."

That demand to leave has met with resistance from PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who has suggested that Real have acted out of turn and approached Ancelotti without permission from the club prior to the renewal of his contract (via ESPN FC).

Ancelotti’s request brings an end to the speculation (via ESPN FC) that has plagued him and the club over recent weeks and partly overshadowed a first domestic title victory since 1994. Now that the Italian has confirmed his interest in leaving for the Santiago Bernabeu—which had been the main point of debate—the club seem to be intent on keeping him out of their clutches.

They will likely be powerless to stop him from leaving though.

With the retirement of Beckham earlier in the week, could Ancelotti’s exit spark an exodus from the Parc des Princes? Not likely. At least not until a new coach is named.

The most probable exit, prior to PSG sealing a first title since 1994 was of Swedish talisman and Ligue 1 player of the year Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, that now looks unlikely (via ESPN FC) because of his comments in reaction to the news. Upon accepting his award from David Ginola on Sunday, he had this to say:

"I don't want him to leave," Ibrahimovic told Canal+. "He's a great coach. I hope he'll stay. There's a great project here and an excellent team. I scored lots of goals thanks to him."

If PSG were to make an unfavourable choice in replacing Ancelotti though, a number of big-name stars could be tempted to leave. In addition to Ibrahimovic, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Thaigo Silva and Marco Verratti are among those who have been linked with moves away in the summer—reports that were denied by Leonardo (via ligue1.com).

Two new names have also joined the capital club’s potential shortlist. Recently-departed Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri is reportedly of interest to PSG after his agent was spotted in Paris on Monday (Foot Mercato in French).

Spanish coach Luis Enrique who most recently left Roma a year ago, is the favourite for the Ligue 1 champions’ job according to reports from the former Barcelona player’s homeland (via Marca in Spanish).

That would be one appointment likely to prompt the likes of Ibrahimovic, Silva and Lavezzi to consider their futures given his lack of experience at the highest level as a coach, but the options are running out fast.

Jose Mourinho, according to reports (via The Guardian) could be a free agent as early as Monday evening after Real Madrid called an impromptu press conference. The Portuguese manager is expected to return to former club Chelsea, but his availability could see PSG spring into action.

Rafa Benitez also appears to be off the list after he met Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis for talks over the vacant coaching role in Naples in London, with a deal expected by the end of the week (via Marca in English).

Whatever happens next in this tale, it is imperative that PSG make the right choice in their next coach as that appointment will be key to convincing the club’s current crop of stars that the project has long-term viability.

Without it, a number of those stars will likely seek an exit following Ancelotti’s lead, perhaps even to join the Italian in Madrid.

But what is most likely is that the players will stay if the appointment gains their respect, so for now at least, a mass exodus at the Parc des Princes is not on the cards.

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