June 24, 2024

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Football notebook: Jardim and Blanc back on the market; Versailles lose Coupe de France home field advantage

4 min read
Football notebook: Jardim and Blanc back on the market; Versailles lose Coupe de France home field advantage

The week is almost out, and the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League have not failed to deliver so far upon their return to action. Meanwhile, there has been another managerial merry-go-round of sorts and a curious story emerges in the Coupe de France.

We have you covered.

Al Hilal part ways with Jardim

Former AS Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim is no longer coaching Al Hilal after the Saudi giants separated with the Portuguese and replaced him with Ramon Diaz. The 47-year-old did win the AFC Champions League in his time at King Fahd International Stadium, but he now finds himself back on the market at a time when a few European and South American posts could become available.  

Why it matters: Jardim’s stock remains relatively high, and he has already been linked with Corinthians in Brazil while the ex-Sporting CP and Olympiacos man has regularly been linked with high-profile European positions given his French and Greek titles. We could see him resurface very soon.

Blanc’s Qatari spell ends

Another reasonably high-profile name in the coaching world is that of Laurent Blanc who has been dismissed by Al Rayyan of Qatar after just over one year in the role. James Rodriguez’s arrival has not been enough to turn around a disappointing record and the Frenchman has paid the price by losing his job.  

Why it matters: Like Jardim, Blanc’s stock remains high due to his past achievements, and he was mentioned when Manchester United were looking to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer before they opted for Ralf Rangnick. Expect the Frenchman to be considered for a new European posting in the coming months with Olympique Lyonnais also known admirers.

Guion steps into Bordeaux breach

Ligue 1 strugglers Girondins de Bordeaux, a former club of Blanc’s, have named David Guion as their boss until at least the end of the season after dismissing Vladimir Petkovic. Currently bottom of Le Championnat and with one of the leakiest defenses, the former Stade de Reims boss is facing a tough task to keep Les Girondins in the French elite.  

Why it matters: For great, historic clubs such as Bordeaux and AS Saint-Etienne to be battling against relegation to Ligue 2 is a sad affair for French soccer and if Guion can help salvage what has been an awful tenure under Gerard Lopez’s questionable leadership then all the better. Survival will give the six-time Ligue 1 champions another summer to put themselves on a stronger footing for the future.

Salernitana turn to Nicola

Serie A strugglers Salernitana also changed coach this week with Davide Nicola taking over from Stefano Colantuono. Granata were recently taken over and have rejigged their squad for the second half of the season, but it was not enough to convince Andrea Pirlo to take the job at Stadio Arechi.  

Why it matters: If Nicola can keep Salernitana in Serie A, it will complete a remarkable survival job given that the club were hours from going into administration before Danilo Iervolino stepped in to save them.

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Versailles ‘at home’ in Nice

One of the fairytale stories of this season’s Coupe de France has been FC Versailles 78’s run to the semifinals but they will not be able to enjoy home advantage after their tie with OGC Nice was switched to the Allianz Riviera due to an inability to locate a nearby alternative venue.  

Why it matters: Versailles could make it to the final from the fourth tier of French soccer but will need to do it the hard way away against Ligue 1 opposition. This is not the first time it has happened given the unique nature of the club’s home ground being so close to Chateau de Versailles, but it may well adversely influence the result and end their run here when a home tie might have provided another shock.

Paris FC investment

Ligue 2 side Paris FC have announced new investment from Armenia and the Noah Football Group as they continue their push toward the top flight.  

Why it matters: NFG have had their issues, notably in Latvia, but their arrival is the latest investment after Bahraini and Sri Lankan capital was pumped into the club as they seek to establish themselves as Paris’ second club. They are definitely one of the clubs to keep an eye on in Europe with promotion a strong possibility this season.

Monaco send Pavlovic to Basel

After a spell with Monaco’s feeder club Cercle Brugge, Les Monegasques have sent Strahinja Pavlovic to FC Basel on loan in the hope that it aids the 20-year-old Serbia international’s development.  

Why it matters: European transfers outside of the January window are rare and Pavlovic is highly rated for club and country so this spell could be crucial in his development and chance of success under new boss Philippe Clement.

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