PSG – The Best Team In Serie A

PSG have splashed the cash early this summer and according to Leonardo they are ‘finished’ bringing players in. They have made quite the mark.

Coming into the Parisian squad are Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marco Verratti. All joining from Serie A sides.

That means PSG on their books have a squad that consists of eleven players that have played for Italian clubs, are managed by a very successful Italian in Carlo Ancelotti and have former AC Milan player and manager Leonardo as the clubs sporting director.

Since joining the club Carlo has signed six players all of whom had Serie A experience.

So you can see the theme.

You can also add to that you have six South Americans in the squad, many of them brought in by Brazilian Leonardo.

Another thing that stands out is the lack of French players in the squad or capable of getting much first team football in the up-coming season.

Now look at this team basically a 4-3-3…

Salvatore Sirigu, Christophe Jallet, Maxwell, Alex, Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, Javier Pastore, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Jeremy Menez.

Now give a few changes here or there and that is the team that could start the Ligue 1 season at the Parc des Princes (Thiago Silva will be at the Olympics). Only two haven’t played in Italy and more importantly only two are French.

There is no doubt that Leonardo, Carlo Ancelotti and the Qatari owners QSI have built a great squad but where is the identity?

Mamadou Sakho started the last campaign as PSG captain. He has played more than 100 Ligue 1 games for the side, came up through the sides youth teams and significantly he was born and brought up in Paris.

But since the QSI takeover Sakho has had a dip in form, been stripped of the captains armband, been left out the team and has been branded ‘slightly overweight’ by Leonardo (A former PSG player).

Mamadou stated that if Ancelotti were to sign another defender then he would likely leave PSG. They have since signed Thiago Silva.

Sakho suggested he might stay in Ligue 1, that could see him move to Lille who like to have a strong French contingent. He has also been linked with a move to Arsenal, who seem to have more of a French identity than PSG.

When Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed he said…

“I want to thank PSG because they made something impossible possible. It’s a big step in my career. Another dream come true,”

Ok Zlatan what is the dream? Playing for PSG or getting a huge wage packet? I am not having a go, he has made the move that most would but it’s not a dream he was having five years ago.

Now if like Sakho, you grow up in Paris in the 90s it really is a dream come true to play for PSG. Yet he and a lot of the French and longer serving players seem to being pushed out with the foreign stars taking their chances.

So far this summer along with Sakho; Nene, Kevin Gameiro, Guillaume Hoarau, Diego Lugano, Zoumana Camara and Sylvain Armand have all been linked with moves away from the French capital.

That’s five players from France.

Now if you look at two other sides that spent big to make their clubs huge in Europe, Chelsea and Manchester City then you can see parallels with PSG.

They bought from other leagues, made impact signings and bought around the squad not concentrating in the one area.

But they have also kept a local identity.

At Chelsea they have John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Daniel Sturridge. While at City they have Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, James Milner and Gareth Barry. You can then add various English youngsters and back up players both have had and still do have in their squads.

Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have stars from foreign lands but also have a large Spanish contingent in their teams.

PSG have bought really well.

Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic can be and are superstars. Marco Verratti, a player I have seen first-hand, can be a creative footballing architect that will only get better with age. Plus for me Thiago Silva is one of the top five centre backs in the world.

I have no problem with those deals as such but I don’t get the Alex and Thiago Motta places in the first team. These are places that can easily go to Sakho and Mathieu Bodmer or Blaise Matuidi.

When signing new players why not look at Ligue 1 like the rest of the world, there is a market outside of Serie A you know. They could have tried to get Yann M’Vila and/or Mathieu Debuchy. Putting money into Ligue 1 would make the league better, which would increase the chances of more worldwide exposure for the league.

The point is that identity should be important.

That identity isn’t that of a Serie A team or a South American outfit but should be of a cosmopolitan team, with style but with France at its heart… Like Paris itself.

PSG have French/Parisian fans who may enjoy the success, but they will also have fans that become disenchanted by the lack of French identity. What about the teenagers currently in Paris? Will they believe they can live out their dream and play in Parc des Princes? Who will they look to as inspiration?

French ministers have gone on record declaring their horror in the money involved at PSG but that shouldn’t be where the horror lies it should be why are they becoming a Serie A side and not a team that symbolises France and French football?

11 Responses to “PSG – The Best Team In Serie A”

  1. Really enjoyed reading this, good to see this sort of analysis about the Ibrahimovich transfer and PSG’s strategy.

    At the press conference yesterday, Leonardo said that PSG had tried to sign French players from within France (and also abroad) but that clubs hadn’t been particularly cooperative. Not sure if I fully believe that due to the issue you mention about recruiting big names (e.g. Alex, Motta) who may not be much better than players already there. There was quite a lot of talk of transfer strategy at yesterday’s press conference, the fact that PSG had now signed a superstar and the profile of Ligue 1. Signing non-French players is going to create a lot more media coverage outside of France, which is something that PSG seem very keen to do.

  2. I think people questioning their strategy will obviously lead to Leo saying that they tried getting players from Ligue 1.

    Lille managed to get a good deal for Marvin Martin, Debuchy has been linked with Newcastle and Giroud went to Arsenal for £12m.

    I hink the signings they have made are great this pre-season and will get them the coverage they crave but they seem to be neglecting the player they already had and in particular the French market.

  3. I dont believe that Leonardo wishes to sign French players, why are they not looking at players like Niang of Caen, they want ready made players. There is no desire I believe to invest in young French player or even invest in young french players who are already there like Kebano. As a lifelong Paris SG fan, I feel increasingly disconnected from the team.

  4. I’m agree there is a lack of french identity in PSG team… But :
    – we see at euro 2012 that french players are not the best (tactically and mentally)
    – Leo is agree to buy french players in L1 but doesn’t want to overpay…
    – The Losc own the best french players in L1, so it doesn’t want to reinforce its bigest competitor…
    – when you talk about Debuchy, it would be absurd if he came in Paris, because Carlo Ancelotti said Jallet is the “best french lateral” (it is not my opinion)…

  5. Thanks Padi, its good to hear someone close to PSG agree with me. I hope QSI wake up and realise they need fans like you more than the fickle global market.

    Pedro. I agree France didn’t have a fantastic tournament but as individuals they have talent, just not as a collective.

    Leo overpays in other markets.

    Its better for any competition to have competitors rather than a one horse race. In terms of doing well in Europe and in terms of making the brand bigger.

    Debuchy was an example, I realise they have a RB and he is French, but he was one of the better players in the EUROS and seems to be going for a decent price.

  6. Aréola, Sakho, Gameiro and Ménez have bright futures at the club. Paris doesn’t have a strong football team and hasn’t for a long time unlike Manchester and London.

    Maxwell, Motta, Ibra and Alex won’t be there for long, just big name signings to bring attention to them. There isn’t many long term french talents PSG can buy right now. Most of them are 25+ give PSG another season to set their plan out.

  7. Very good and thought provoking article but. Both Jallet and Alex have never played Serie A football (2 players) and, is a nationał identity that important (question mark)

    For Chelsea, half of their English players were bought before Abramovich took over. For City, they let Sturridge go before giving him a chance, and although their English contingent are useful for the squad, but arguably onły Hart is irreplaceable.

    Apologies for poor spelling, using a Polish keyboard.

  8. Thanks Dave, correct I miss calculated that first team & have now changed it.

    The thing is, Chelsea kept those English players, and also brought in more.

    Sturridge left City and they too brought in and kept the English players.

    I think identity is important for the fans.

  9. I understand your point, but you should know that PSG is a particular club, and when you look a the player who make history threre are a majority of foreigners

    Dahleb, Susic, Rai, Bianchi and most recently Ronaldinho, Heinze, Sorin, Yepes Pauleta, Nene.

  10. I have followed PSG for years. I have no problem with the foreign players.

    But there was always the French backbone too like Le Guen, Lama, Guerin Djorkaeff, Rocheteau, Giuly, Pilorget, Robert, Dehu, N’Gotty, Makelele, Roche, Ginola and Kombouare.

  11. As an Italian my point of view is that PSG is trying to make up a squad capable of giving good display in the CL.
    Leonardo ,is wrong when he says that he tried to take french player .Tell me if is a good move ,to buy a player (Verratti) which played in first division and was acclaimed the best midfield only last year for 12 million euro I think ,as many italians that PSG owner is going mad.
    My team in Napoli ,and when Lavezzi went to PSG the media in France said that we were in dispair ,yes we were a little bit down but we knew that a new youth (Insigne) would have made us forget Lavezzi and after seeing him play in the last 3 friendly game no one talk about Lavezzi any more (insigne belongs to Napoli thus we did not spend a cent)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    We Italians are courious on how Ancellotti will make playing Lavezzi,pastore ,nene,Menez and Ibrahimovic (as Lavezzi make always fuss when he do not play )!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    PS BeWARE THAT lAVEZZI likes a lot night life (and beer)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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