Do PSG Lack The Vision To Become Europe’s Elite Club?


Ever since Paris Saint-Germain were taken over by QSI (Qatari Sports Investment) in 2011, the Parisian club have harboured ambitions of becoming one of Europe’s top clubs.

They have won three Ligue 1 titles since the takeover. Last season PSG added the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue (the French domestic cup competitions) to their league title, thus securing an historic treble.

The French champions have also improved in Europe, they now consistently reach the latter of stages of the Champions League. Last term they knocked Chelsea out of Europe’s elite competition in the last sixteen stage before they lost out to eventual winners Barcelona in the quarter-final.

During the Qatari era, PSG have spent a vast amount of cash on personnel as they continue to grow.

But for varying reasons PSG seem to a reached a glass ceiling as they try and break into the last stages of the Champions League.

A lot of confusion surrounds Les Rouge-et-Bleu this summer.

They seem to lack the vision needed to take them forward onto the next level.

Look at the Lucas Digne situation.

Digne is one of the best up-and-coming left-backs in the world. He joined PSG in 2013 from Lille for €15m. He has since made twenty-nine league appearances for the Ligue 1 side and has broken into the French national team.

But it seems likely that the twenty-one year old is going to depart Paris this summer for Liverpool, with a €12m fee reportedly being agreed.

I really can’t get my head around this. In Digne, PSG have potentially the world’s best left-back.

Yes Maxwell has excelled in last two seasons, but the Brazilian is thirty-three years old. Now should be the time where PSG start giving Digne more game time ahead of Maxwell. Teams seem to think that the best time to replace a player is when they have already lost their legs or ability. But the truth is you start replacing them before that and gradually during a season.

Yet they look set to take a financial hit on a player who still has time on his side and who they’ve mismanaged.

I’d also be concerned that they will also mismanage Adrien Rabiot and Jean-Cristophe Bahebeck, if the youngsters don’t get more first team action next season.

Like a lot of the bigger sides in Europe, young homegrown players just don’t seem to get enough exposure with the Parisian side. PSG will always look for a glamours signing rather than promote within. A real shame when you consider the great youth set-ups they have in France.

This summer has also seen PSG linked with a move for a goalkeeper.

According to the English press the French champs could vie with Arsenal for Petr Cech’s signature. But French football expert Andrew Gibney has reliably informed me that the interest in Eintracht Frankfurt’s Kevin Trapp is greater, with a €9m release clause being mentioned.

But do they need another keeper?

Italian goalie Salvatore Sirigu has been a constant top performer since he arrived in the French capital. At only twenty-eight, his best years are still in front of him.

He is also keen to remain:

“I’m happy and there’s no reason to change, I will remain in Paris.”

In Nicolas Douchez they have a veteran who is happy enough to sit on the bench and play when needed. In total, Nicolas made fifteen appearances last season and didn’t let anyone down.

A keeper like Cech wouldn’t come in as a reserve. So manager Laurent Blanc would probably have to drop Salvatore, who in turn would become unhappy. That causes a whole set of problems concerning squad harmony.

At twenty-four, is Kevin Trapp going to be a happy understudy? PSG already have a great young keeping prospect in Alphonse Areola. Would twenty-two year old Areola be pleased to know that Trapp has now stepping ahead of him in the cheque for a first team place?

Alphonse has just completed a deal that will see him join Villarreal next season on a year long loan. Surely it is best for the club to keep the status quo for another year and see what next summer brings.

Ageing holding-midfielder Thiago Motta has been linked with moves to former sides Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan. But French newspaper Le Parisien are reporting that PSG are willing to offer the Italian international a new one year contract extension at higher wages.

Now I will hold my hands up, I’m not a fan of Motta. I feel he is easily replaceable. But if the Qatari’s want to keep him for an extra year through loyalty or due to his experience, then fair enough, But to offer the soon to be thirty-three year old more money is just folly! It makes no sense at all.

The club also need to decide quickly on what to do with the mercurial talents of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede undoubtedly still has outstanding skills and qualities but he is also such a huge distraction.

His ego engulfs the dressing room at the Parc des Princes, where it is reported that he has caused splits within the squad with some teammates being left out of his ‘in-crowd’ posse.

Time is also catching up with Zlatan as injuries curtailed his season last year. But on the other-hand he still grabs an astonishing amount of goals!

With AC Milan supposedly desperate to welcome the Swedish striker back to the San Siro with open arms, maybe it is best for all concerned that he returns to Serie A. Then maybe Edinson Cavani can come out of his shadow.

Blanc also has to get rid of players like Ezequiel Lavezzi and Yohan Cabaye. They represent the reckless spending for spending sake that has been associated with PSG in recent years. They no longer add enough to the squad and getting rid would free up cash for a star signing that really could improve the squad say an Angel Di Maria or a Paul Pogba.

I honestly think PSG are at a crossroads this summer. They need to work the transfer market with more awareness and not just throw money around like its going out of fashion.

They need to also understand that promoting the exciting youth products that they have at their disposal is actually healthy for the club and can still see them improve on the park.

With a combination of smart thinking (when doing deals) and promoting younger talent, PSG could set out a brighter vision for their future.

I am just worried that they are stuck with a short-term thinking mentality that will only see them stall in their pursuit of European glory much like Manchester City.

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