French TV channel beIN Sport, which shares its president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, with the club, broke the news before official confirmation quickly followed via PSG’s official website that Leonardo, 43, will step down following the close of the transfer window on September 2.
“The club’s board regret the decision, but respect it,” a statement read. “It would like to express its thanks for the remarkable work accomplished in constructing in Paris a centre-stage European club. It wishes for him to continue his brilliant career with success.”
The decision for Leonardo to leave is not unexpected following his nine-month suspension for pushing a referee after the Valenciennes match last season, a suspension that was recently extended to 12 months after he appealed the original suspension.
PSG’s owners are very careful about the image and brand of the club, and after Leonardo’s suspension it was only a matter of time before they asked him to leave.
The big question is who will replace Leonardo as PSG’s sporting director? With new manager Laurent Blanc only on a two-year contract, there is the opportunity for someone to come in an really shape a club whose ambition is to win the Champions League and really compete globally with the biggest clubs in the world.
Speculation will start to build that that person is Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who is coming to the end of his contract at the Emirates. Wenger is very close to PSG’s owners. Could we see Arsene Wenger move back to France next summer to take over the reigns at PSG? I think that depends on what kind of season he has at Arsenal. If Arsenal continue to lag behind the big three of Man United, Man City and Chelsea, then his departure has to be a real possibility.