Mauricio Pochettino 'happy and honoured' to be named new PSG manager

Argentine signs deal through to June 2022 with the option for a further 12 months

CORRECTION / (FILES) This file photo taken on November 6, 2019 shows Tottenham Hotspur's Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino clapping at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group B football match between Red Star Belgrade (Crvena Zvezda) and Tottenham Hotspur at the Rajko Mitic stadium in Belgrade. Mauricio Pochettino was officially named the new coach of French champions Paris Saint-Germain on January 2, 2021, following the sacking of Thomas Tuchel. / AFP / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

Mauricio Pochettino has been named the new manager of Paris Saint-Germain with the Argentine signing an 18-month deal with the French champions.

Pochettino, 48, the former defender who represented PSG as a player between 2001-03, has been out of a job since being dismissed by Tottenham Hotspur in November 2019, a few months after guiding the North London club to the Champions League final.

"I am really happy and honoured to become the new coach of Paris Saint-Germain," Pochettino, who has an option for a one-year extension in his contract, said.

"I would like to thank the club's management for the trust they have placed in me. As you know, this club has always held a special place in my heart.

"I have wonderful memories, especially of the unique atmosphere of the Parc des Princes. I return to the club today with a lot of ambition and humility, and am eager to work with some of the world's most talented players."

The former Espanyol coach added that he would do his utmost "to give our team the combative and attacking playing identity that Parisian fans have always loved."

Pochettino replaces Thomas Tuchel at the helm with PSG third in Ligue 1, trailing Lyon and Lille by a point.

German Tuchel, who led PSG to the Champions League final in August which they lost to Bayern Munich, was dismissed on Christmas Eve following a 4-0 win over Racing Strasbourg.

Pochettino will take charge of his first match next Saturday at Saint-Etienne, as Ligue 1 resumes after the winter break.

Then, on February 16, he will be plotting the downfall of his compatriot Lionel Messi's Barcelona at Camp Nou, with the Champions League last-16 return leg on March 6.

Although he has yet to win any silverware Pochettino's stock is high in managerial circles.

The Argentine made Tottenham a consistent Champions League qualifier in four years at the Premier League club.

He arrives in the French capital after being linked with a number of high-profile clubs, including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barca.

He is due to meet up with the world's most expensive player, Neymar, France's World Cup-winning forward Kylian Mbappe and their teammates at PSG's first post-Christmas training session on Sunday.

Pochettino will be keen to take advantage of the transfer window to bring in new faces, with French newspaper Le Parisien identifying his former Spurs charge, Inter Milan's attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen, as one target. Dele Alli, who has fallen out of favour under Jose Mourinho at Tottenham, is another.

And looking further ahead, given their Argentine ties Pochettino may be the catalyst for six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi to consider PSG as potential new employers when he is free to leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

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