The announcement of Paul Clement as the new Reading FC manager came as little surprise, given that his name has been heard non-stop since Jaap Stam departed the Berkshire side. But who is the new man in charge of The Royals?
Paul Clement will be a familiar face to those in the Premier League, having left his last post at Swansea City in December just gone. He joined The Swans just over a year ago in January 2017, taking the relegation-threatened Welsh side from 19th place to safety in his initial half-season at the Liberty Stadium. But poor results in the current campaign, not helped by high-profile departures from the side in the summer (including former Royal Gylfi Sigurdsson), led to Clement’s sacking in the festive period, with the club bottom of the Premier League table.
He also has some experience of the second tier of English football, having overseen the first half of Derby County’s 2015/2016 season in the EFL Championship as The Rams pushed for promotion to the promised land of the Premier League. He was backed heavily in the transfer market by Derby owner Mel Morris, who described Clement as “Derby’s Alex Ferguson”.
However, despite sitting comfortably in the top six going into the business end of the campaign, a seven-game win-less run at the start of the new year ended his tenure as manager of The Rams.
Even though Paul Clement might not have had the most illustrious of managerial careers, his coaching CV would be hard to beat. Rising through the ranks at Chelsea (even replacing former Reading manager Brendan Rodgers as reserve team manager), he became Carlo Ancelotti’s number two during the Italian’s two years at the London club.
He helped The Blues win the double in 2010, before following Ancelotti to Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and, between his spells as manager at Derby and Swansea, Bayern Munich. Working at some of the top clubs in European football, he was able to coach players such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Cristiano Ronaldo as well as helping his sides win the French league title, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League.
Carlo Ancelotti isn’t the only name in football who Clement has followed to another club. Ron Gourlay, the current chief executive at Reading and also the same person who dismissed the pair at Chelsea during his spell at Stamford Bridge, has worked with Paul before and it is likely their previous working relationship will help the new manager settle at the Madejski Stadium.