Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain have parted company with Laurent Blanc, with Sevilla coach Unai Emery poised to take over.
Following widespread speculation linking Emery with the PSG job, it was announced he would depart Sevilla almost two weeks ago. Jorge Sampaoli is set to be the three-time Europa League winner’s successor in Andalusia.
Blanc guided PSG to back-to-back domestic trebles in the last two seasons, but quarter-final exits in the Champions League in each of his three seasons in charge are likely to have cost him dearly.
“As we embark on a new chapter in the development of the club, I would like to thank Laurent Blanc for everything he has achieved over the last three years, both in terms of the playing style and results,” PSG CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi said in a statement.
“I wish him the best for his future challenges.”
PSG said lengthy negotiations over his departure had reached a conclusion “in a respectful atmosphere” on Monday.
The club’s statement read: “An agreement, by common accord, preserves the interest of both parties.
“As the club decides to head in a new direction for the management of the first team, it wishes to thank Laurent Blanc and expresses its gratitude for the work accomplished over the last three years by Laurent and his staff.
“He left a significant mark on the great history of Paris Saint-Germain.”
French media reported last week that Blanc had received a €22million pay-off to terminate his PSG contract early, the former France boss had signed an extension that ran until the end of the 2017-18 season in February.
While Blanc has failed to transform the cash-rich Parisians into European contenders, his likely replacement arrives with considerable pedigree in continental competition.
Emery won the Europa League in each of his three full seasons at the helm of Sevilla – an unprecedented treble in the competition’s history.
At Sevilla, as well as in three consecutive third-place finishes in La Liga with Valencia, Emery has proven himself well adept at working in financially constricted roles, with the riches on offer as PSG boss a new challenge for him.
A return to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan for Poland midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak is anticipated, while PSG are also expected to enter the market for a star striker after Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s departure.
Neymar is thought to be a long-term target of the club’s ambitious owners – a move made more likely in recent months by the Brazilian’s apparent stalling in contract talks with Barcelona.
Blanc won the Ligue 1 title and the Coupe de la Ligue at Bordeaux and led the France national team at Euro 2012 prior to replacing Carlo Ancelotti in Paris back in 2013.