Paris, July 1
France’s World Cup and Euro-winning captain Didier Deschamps is seen as the favourite to become the fifth national team coach in the past 10 years after Laurent Blanc decided not to accept a new contract.
But if confirmed, 43-year-old Deschamps, once witheringly described as a "water carrier" by Eric Cantona, would be taking on what increasingly looks like a poisoned chalice after a torrid recent history for the 1998 world champions.
Euro 2000-winner Roger Lemerre stepped down after France failed to exit the group stage at the 2002 World Cup; Jacques Santini, left after Euro 2004 for an ill-fated sojourn at Spurs; and Raymond Domenech went in 2010 after a rollercoaster six years.
Should Deschamps take over, he would at least be able to continue the hard work that Blanc had put in since replacing the largely unloved Domenech after the 2010 World Cup debacle, which compounded a disastrous Euro 2008 campaign.
On paper, Deschamps is seen as having the right credentials for the job, with a stellar playing career followed by a laudable one as a coach, not least after he guided Monaco to a surprise appearance in the 2004 Champions League final.
He also coached his former club Juventus back to Serie A after their demotion in 2006 for match-fixing.
He then left for Marseille, the club he captained and with whom he won the 1993 European Cup trophy as well as guided to a first Ligue 1 title in 18 years in 2010.
France’s Sunday newspapers, though, largely viewed Deschamps as the "least worst" option.
Others, such as present Oman coach Paul Le Guen, was reportedly sounded out by French Football Federation President Noel Le Graet even before the Euro but he does not inspire much enthusiasm within France.
Le Journal du Dimanche said Le Graet, who is up for re-election in December, was prepared to offer the new coach a two-year contract, with another two if France qualify for the 2014 World Cup from a group containing defending champions Spain.