Paris St-Germain coach Paul Le Guen was linked with a sensational switch to the club’s arch-rivals Marseille in the French media on Wednesday.
Leading sports daily L’Equipe reported that Marseille are seeking a replacement for their Belgian trainer Eric Gerets and have already taken “tentative steps” towards appointing Le Guen.
Both coaches’ contracts expire at the end of the season and L’Equipe claims Le Guen could be tempted south from Paris even if Gerets leads Marseille to both the league title and the UEFA Cup this term.
Former Kaiserslautern and Wolfsburg manager Gerets is rumoured to be considering a return to Germany and the paper states that Le Guen heads a shortlist of potential replacements.
“Le Guen has not given any clear indications (about his future), but he has not closed the door on any potential developments,” L’Equipe said.
“In his eyes, Marseille are a great club and he’s attracted by the prospect of working there, having already sampled life at Lyon and PSG.”
The move would be hugely controversial, as Marseille and PSG – whose hotly anticipated league meetings are known as ‘le clasico’ – are the two best-supported clubs in France.
Marseille won the most recent clash between the sides on Sunday night, but both clubs have been starved off success in recent years thanks to the domestic dominance of reigning seven-time champions Lyon.
PSG have not won the league title since 1994, while Marseille’s last league success came at the end of a four-year title-winning streak that ended in 1992.
In less than three seasons at the Parc des Princes, Le Guen has turned Paris’s only top-flight side from relegation candidates into apparent title contenders.
A former France international defender who made 343 appearances for PSG, Le Guen began his coaching career at Rennes but made his name in a three-year stint at Lyon during which he led the side to three league titles.
After a disastrous eighth-month spell in charge of Scottish giants Rangers, Le Guen returned to PSG in January 2007, narrowly sparing the team from relegation in his first two seasons and securing the League Cup in 2008.
Le Guen recruited heavily last summer, with veteran French midfielder Claude Makelele, former Barcelona and Roma star Ludovic Giuly, Benin international Stephane Sessegnon and Serbia striker Mateja Kezman all joining the club.
A surge of six wins in seven matches recently took them up to second in the table, while they drew 0-0 with Portugal’s Braga in the home leg of their UEFA Cup last-16 tie.
Lyon’s surprise 2-0 defeat at Auxerre at the weekend presented PSG with the chance to go top for the first time since August 2005, but they succumbed to a crushing 3-1 defeat at home to Marseille on Sunday evening.
With 10 matches of the season remaining, second-placed Marseille lead PSG on goal difference, with both sides a point behind Lyon.
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