Thomas Tuchel heads into 2021 awaiting the next challenge of his managerial career. Still only 47, the German coach has already claimed domestic honours in his home country and France. Last season, he guided Paris Saint-Germain to a domestic treble and the UEFA Champions League final.
However, 'success' in Paris is judged only by European silverware. While Thomas Tuchel is the only manager to lead the club to the showpiece final in their illustrious history, it was still not enough for Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) to pursue this particular chapter of their ambitious project any further.
The failure of Thomas Tuchel's predecessors
Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery, and now Thomas Tuchel have all tried and failed to deliver the Champions League trophy to the French capital.
Mauricio Pochettino is the latest figure entrusted with the task of elevating the Parisians to the top of the European football tree. Domestic success is a minimum requirement that offers no credit when it comes to competing on the biggest stage.
Thomas Tuchel achieved more with Paris Saint-Germain than his predecessors. However, the internal drama of dealing with high-profile players and a demanding board is enough to take its toll on even the most experienced managers in the European game.
It is a unique job where the key to success has not yet been unearthed.
While the Champions League trophy continues to elude them, players like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will grow increasingly frustrated, as the limited demands of the domestic game in France will do little to appease their ambitions to achieve more in their careers.
A volatile club and politics over tactics often decide the popularity of the manager at PSG.
Thomas Tuchel initially embraced the challenge and the resources available to help deliver European success when he arrived in Paris in the summer of 2018. While France were delivering World Cup glory in Russia, the new manager was refreshed after a year's sabbatical to reflect on the issues that resulted in his departure from Borussia Dortmund the previous summer.
Thomas Tuchel had failed to end Bayern Munich's Bundesliga domination
Reports of changing-room discord and disagreements with the hierarchy at the club meant that Thomas Tuchel's time at Dortmund was no longer tenable. A lone German Cup was an insufficient return for a club fixed on ending the domestic domination of Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.
Therefore, it was interesting to read this week how reports of conflict between Thomas Tuchel and the Paris Saint-German hierarchy finally brought an end to his tenure at the Parc des Princes.
It is a trend that could make potential employers wary of investing in Thomas Tuchel, who begins the new year searching for his next challenge.
However, Thomas Tuchel's background as a coach requires that sort of character to succeed.
With a playing career cut short at the age of 25 through injury while competing in the lower levels of the German game, Thomas Tuchel had no status or playing success to support his coaching credentials when he started to make his name with the youth team at VfB Stuttgart.
Nevertheless, Thomas Tuchel quickly developed a reputation as a young and progressive coach during his time with Mainz 05 following his appointment in 2009.
It would be the first of two appointments where he would succeed Jürgen Klopp; Thomas Tuchel would also go on to replace his fellow countryman at Borussia Dortmund six years later.
A managerial career built from scratch
His young age and fresh ideology ensured that young players related to Thomas Tuchel and embraced the new ideas and philosophy that he brought to both teams.
A mutual respect developed, and performances delivered results. However, reaching that level of respect was no easy task, as Thomas Tuchel took charge of changing rooms without a playing career to support his pedigree.
Earning respect of his players and his managerial peers took Thomas Tuchel time in his native Germany. However, it also shaped the character within him that would see him fight for what he believed was right and for what he needed to succeed.
It is a trait that has brought conflict with those above him, and one that will unfairly count against him in the current job market.
Could the Premier League be Thomas Tuchel's next stop?
The English Premier League could be an interesting option for Thomas Tuchel at this stage of his career, and the currently under-pressure managers will not feel at ease by his immediate availability. However, choosing the right project will be crucial at this point, and the relationship he builds with his next employer will decide the success of his next appointment.
Tuchel is a talented coach who still has more to offer than the success that he has already achieved. His next destination is likely to be with a leading European club, as these are the circles in which his name is currently linked.
In this respect, the history of his internal disputes should only be seen as a positive aspect of his character rather than a flaw.Published 02 Jan 2021, 20:34 IST