PSG aim to deliver treble of domestic trophies ahead of summer clearout
BORDEAUX, France -- Paris Saint-Germain can win a record eighth Coupe de la Ligue title and further add to their record as the undisputed best side in the competition's history if they can beat Monaco at Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux on Saturday.
Coach Unai Emery is already seeing his current role offered to a plethora of names inside and outside of Europe, while a number of players appear to be on the way out. The Spaniard has remained tight-lipped over his future, simply remaining professional all the way to what will probably be an expired contract, while the likes of Javier Pastore have already admitted that they are approaching the end.
Whatever this summer holds, though, there are still a few titles up for grabs and the first of those is the Coupe de la Ligue in Bordeaux this weekend.
"I have experience in football," said Emery when asked about the speculation over his future during a pre-match news conference at Matmut Atlantique. "I know this. I am making the most of each moment.
"We have objectives and there is a title at stake here. If there are a lot of journalists, it is an important match ..."
Emery appears to be resigned to his fate after a second consecutive Champions League round-of-16 exit but is taking it in a dignified manner. Indeed, even certain current PSG players appear convinced that the Basque tactician is going, with Thomas Meunier speaking while on international duty with Belgium about the likelihood of a new coach.
While few are expressing regret at Emery's failure in the French press, Pastore's likely exit has prompted much more emotion. BeIN Sports' Omar da Fonseca mused that "love stories end badly," and that "his time here has not been to the best of his abilities."
"Javier is an artist, somebody with aesthetic qualities. He has lost that aspect. He was never known to have been able to play in a single position. That is the most frustrating regret."
Meanwhile, Rolland Courbis of RMC Sport told Le Parisien that "unfortunately, the overall summary is a negative one -- particularly because of injuries."
"Physical and mental solidity are some of the qualities a player can possess. It is a shame, because Javier makes you love football.
"At the end, it has been seven years that we have been waiting for his to become a consistent force. I must add, though, that I get the impression that Emery was also not at his best here."
There is no use in finger pointing, both Emery and Pastore have played significant roles in their own downfalls and both similarly look salvageable only by a miracle. What both can do, and Emery appears to be doing already, is make the most of the time left at Parc des Princes to really achieve something.
The former Sevilla boss' exit is so widely assumed that even Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim fielded a question on it during the pre-match news conference. Although it was mainly to distance himself from recent links with Emery's role, the Portuguese still offered no defence of his colleague, nor coaches'-union-style support for his counterpart.
If there is any consolation for Emery and Pastore, it should be that they are unlikely to be the only two players entering into their last few months in Paris.
Hatem Ben Arfa has already confirmed through Instagram that he will soon be gone, while a number of peripheral figures and underperforming-but-well-paid star names should also fear for their roles.
Thiago Motta, who is suspended in Bordeaux, has been linked with a role coaching PSG's reserves at the end of the season and will be another significant miss after years as part of the woodwork.
A few different players have alluded to the significant changes to come, such as Angel Di Maria, while captain Thiago Silva is the only one to have played down -- perhaps with some wishful thinking -- that notion.
PSG may well have a Coupe de France final to come, if they can navigate Caen in the semifinals, but this is likely to be one of, if not the, last big game of the season and consequently, with PSG for some of these players. They, like Emery, should be aiming to go out on an absolute high by at least delivering the domestic clean sweep that they failed to last season.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.