Coach Kombouare on way out at PSG
PARIS - Agence France-Presse
Antoine Koumbouare is likely to be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, despite leading PSG to the top of French League. AFP photoParis Saint-Germain sports director Leonardo has informed club manager Antoine Kombouare that he has been fired, the day after his side went top of the French first division, a source close to the coach told AFP yesterday.
“Antoine was informed he was being sacked today by Leonardo,” the source said, adding that the manager’s assistants were also being fired.
An official announcement was expected to be made later in the day.
Kombouare, who took over as coach of the Paris club in May 2009, moving over from Valenciennes to replace Paul le Guen, has already told certain close friends that he had lost his job, the source said.
His sacking comes the day after Paris Saint-Germain moved back to the top of the French first division with a 1-0 win at St Etienne in the last round of matches before the winter break.
Despite the good form in the league, the explosive Kombouare’s position had been under threat for several weeks with Leonardo holding talks with Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has been out of work since being fired by Chelsea.
Others mentioned as possible replacements were Dutchman Frank Rijkaard and former PSG midfielder Claude Makelele.
A former popular player with the club, Kombouare enjoyed mixed success in his first two seasons as coach placing fourth in the league last year and reaching the final of the French Cup where they lost to Lille.
But the parametres and expectations all changed in the close-season when the club were bought by wealthy investors Qatar Sports Investments (QSI). The Gulf company strode into the French capital with a 70 percent controlling stake and their president Nasser Al-Khelaifi promised “to make the club a great team and a strong brand on the international scene.”
They promptly spent 85 million euros in the summer to attract new talent including a massive 42 million euros forked out for 22-year-old midfielder Javier Pastore.
In recent weeks Leonardo has been in talks to bring England star David Beckham to play in Paris although there has yet to be an official announcement on his arrival.
Several sources told AFP that there were also concerns among the club’s Qatari owners over what they saw as the conservative style of play preferred by Kombouare at PSG and whether or not he would be able to handle some of the big signings that had come his way.