PSG’s New Cycle Seems To Slower Than The Last


In the summer PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi stated that the French champions were now starting ‘a new cycle’ and were embarking ‘on a new chapter’.

Manager Laurent Blanc was sacked despite winning three Ligue 1 titles in a row and also adding eight other domestic cups to the Parc des Princes trophy cabinet. It was felt that the Frenchman didn’t make enough inroads in the club’s ambition in securing the Champions League.

Les Parisiens have decided to bring in talented coach Unai Emery to change things from the dugout. The forty-four year old Spaniard has a fine CV and won the Europa League with Sevilla in each of the last three seasons.

A lot of observers have said that Sevilla’s accomplishments were down to the partnership of coach Emery and Monchi the Spanish side’s influential director of football. In essence Monchi would find gems at a decent value and bring them in for Emery who would then get the best out of those signings.

Supposedly the plan was for the two to link up again in the French capital. Monchi went as far as requesting to leave his post at Sevilla but this was rejected by the board who said he could only leave if a club forked out €5m to release him from his contract.

Instead of doing this, PSG bizarrely announced that former Dutch forward Patrick Kluivert would be arriving as the club’s new sporting director. Now does Kluivert really have the experience and expertise to take on this huge task? Previous to this appointment he had been an assistant to Louis van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup and had managed the national side of Curaçao in the Caribbean.

Dare I say it but I think PSG are following their old pattern of giving someone a job based on their name and not on whether or not that they are suitable for the role.

So far three new players have joined this new cycle and none of them have the star quality or the goals to replace the now departed Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

In fairness to Hatem Ben Arfa, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Thomas Meunier they aren’t centre-forwards and they should help improve the squad if they all play to their full potentials. But again they want get the home fans dancing with excitement.

With Zlatan gone then you’d expect Edinson Cavani to be given the centre forward’s starting position. Although the Uruguayan has been linked this week with a €50m move to Inter.

Now the problem with Cavani is that there are a lot of doubters out there that question his ability to become the main striker and fill Zlatan’s boots. At Napoli the striker would bag hatfuls of goals and looked sensational. At PSG he has scored a good amount of goals but has always played second fiddle to the great Ibra and that meant Edinson was often shifted onto the wing or into a deeper position. You can completely change a players mindset when you continually play him out of position and that could hamper his ability to really star as a number nine again. PSG fans and French football aficionados still feel he lacks that instinctive finish and presence needed in the bigger games.

So many believe that PSG still need a big name finisher to join the club and boost the striking options. But the issue now seems to be that the options are become increasingly limited. Alvaro Morata has rejoined Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane insists he wants to keep him at the Bernabeu, free-scoring Gonzalo Higuaín has left Napoli for Juventus in a huge transfer and Chelsea have spent £33m on Michy Batshuayi.

All the other really big, big stars seem to be staying where they are.

That then leaves the next level of striker, the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Mauro Icardi and Alexandre Lacazette. All three have great potential but probably not the readymade world class goalscorers PSG were hoping for. Plus they come with hefty, inflated price tags as most other European sides also want a proven goalscorer to lead their attack. Lacazette could be the ideal option as he has Ligue 1 pedigree but Lyon are unlikely to sell to PSG if they can get a similar deal from a non-French side.

But instead of biting the bullet and bringing in one of the lesser names that will at least add more goals to the squad, PSG seem intent to bring in Jesé. 

Now Jesé is really just a bit part player for Real Madrid and isn’t even a traditional centre-forward. He’s a winger or maybe a false number nine at a push but would PSG want or need a false number nine?

Obviously he’s young and affordable and will offer you something but I just don’t see him being what PSG need at this moment. Again it’s as if PSG are thinking ‘well we will be getting him from Real Madrid’ rather than saying to themselves ‘Is he what we need?’.

I am also surprised by all the speculation linking Blaise Matuidi with a move away from the Parc des Princes, especially if the replacement is Moussa Sissoko.

Sissoko is only two years younger than Matuidi and is nowhere near as consistent as his Les Bleus compatriot (Just ask Newcastle Utd fans). Now if it was to make room for Paul Pogba, then I’d understand it more.

Now PSG do have a glut of midfield talent. But other than Marco Verratti is anyone there better than Matuidi or offers the side more? Many strong European sides that often challenge for the top prizes have a core group of warriors that have been there and done it before with the club like Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville at Manchester United or Xavi, Carles Puyol and Andres Iniesta at Barcelona. I’d keep Matuidi as that warrior that has the scars and medals that prove his reputation.

It’s also disheartening to see French youngsters like Layvin Kurzawa, Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, Hervin Ongenda and Adrien Rabiot still struggling to make a real impact on the first team with even mor youngsters there not getting a look in underneath them too. Rabiot did make some inroads in terms of more appearances but you still get the impression if everyones fit then he stays on the bench.

Once again this new PSG cycle like the previous one seems to lack a coherent plan and the club still lacks proper structure. I can’t see a clear pathway for young players to develop and get into the first team and that’s disheartening. They really should be away from just the name side of things and come up with a formula that can let PSG grow into a European elite side who have a clear long term strategy. If anything this new era seems to be stalling!

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