Belfast Telegraph

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas considered Paris Saint-Germain move

By Simon Rice

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas has revealed he considered joining Paris Saint-Germain in the summer and remains in contact with the club's president

The former Chelsea manager also says Gareth Bale could struggle in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid

The Spurs manager emerged as a leading candidate to take over the French side when it became apparent Carlo Ancelotti would leave the Parc des Princes for Real Madrid.

In a wide ranging interview with L'Equipe, Villas-Boas revealed he gave serious considration to the role, and with the big-spending outfit linked with another move for him next summer, it may concern Tottenham fans that he remains in regular contact with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

When asked if he thought about a move to the French capital in the close season, Villas Boas said: “That is normal. In the end, whenever you are coaching, if other people like the way you coach and if people are happy with what you are able to give as a leader of an organisation then you raise interest. But Tottenham are a very big club with a great project.

“I have good relations with Nasser, with whom I speak regularly. I know him because I worked with him for Al-Jazeera and I was invited to Doha, where they showed me the plans of the 2022 World Cup. I was impressed. It will all be built to ensure a unique experience for fans.

“With Nasser, we have respect for each other. That PSG approached me was released [to the media] but I wanted to stay a second year in Tottenham, building on the work of last season, making two consecutive seasons in the same club for the first time in my career. I wanted to continue the project here.”

Villas-Boas has enjoyed a fine start to the current campaign with Spurs sitting second in the Premier League, only kept off the top on goal difference. It is new ground for the former Porto and Chelsea manager who has never spent more than one campaign at any of the clubs he has managed, which also includes Academica.

When asked about details of the offer from PSG, he insisted, “we never got to that stage,” and added: “PSG are undergoing changes that Tottenham have already done. Tottenham are a step ahead."

Villas-Boas went on to compare the two clubs in more detail, and conceded that PSG are now in a position to aim for loftier ambitions than his current club.

"They’re two clubs that have won titles. But it’s certain that their ambition, given the recent investment in PSG over the last two years, is to win the Champions League. Us, our ambition, is to participate in it.”

After missing out on Villas-Boas, PSG employed Laurent Blanc on a two-year contract instead. His start at the mega-rich club has been decent, with the club yet to lose a league game, although fellow big spenders Monaco currently lead the Ligue 1 table.

Whatever happens next summer, Villas-Boas is for now focused on Tottenham, particularly with a meeting with his former club Chelsea and mentor Jose Mourinho this weekend. Speculation that he had lost the support of key players, coupled with a string of poor results, meant he lasted just nine months at Stamford Bridge.

He said: “Chelsea allowed me to understand there are some things I couldn’t do. I had a direction I wanted the team to follow but I didn’t find enough support to follow this direction. This experience has taught me a lot and now I do things differently.”

As well as falling out with the hierarchy at Chelsea, Villas-Boas' relationship with Mourinho is also understood to have soured after he left his role among the Special One's staff while at Inter Milan to pursue his own career.

"I was never his number two," explained AVB. "I was part of his staff, but I was never his assistant. That's one of the reasons we went our separate ways. I thought I could give him a lot more, but he didn't feel the need to have someone next to him. So I decided to give myself freedom and think about my career, which wasn't difficult. Yes, there are similarities: Porto, Chelsea. But he has had a lot of success at Chelsea and I didn't have a good experience there."

The fine start to Tottenham's season has come despite losing star player Gareth Bale. Spurs invested heavily to limit the damage to the side and Villas-Boas said: “With the departure of Gareth, players take on more responsibilities. They know that if they are good, we will talk more of them, so they have good reason to shine. We score a lot of goals, players who enter are good, we play more as a team."

Villas-Boas predicted the player that left for a world record transfer fee may struggle at Real Madrid

“Gareth has the potential to have the same influence [as Ronaldo] but it depends on how he adapts," said the Tottenham manager. "At Real, he will not be the big star, like he was here. Ronaldo performed for four years at Manchester United before leaving, while Gareth has only had one [very good] season.”


Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph