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PSG- The new Manchester City?


When Qatar Investment Authority became sole owners of PSG, they promised one thing: they would spend €100 million on the transfer market in the years to come. They weren’t lying…

 In August 2011, PSG announced the €38.4 million signing of Argentine Javier Pastore. To many, this figure seemed extortionate, considering his former club Palermo paid just €4.7 million for the player just 2 years before. However, the deal was clearly a statement of intent. Think of Manchester City spending €42.5 million for Brazilian Robinho on deadline day prior to the 2008-09 season. The acquisition of manager Carlo Ancelotti, a manager who has won the Champions League twice with Milan plus league titles with Milan and Chelsea, was another serious statement.

In total, PSG splashed out €108m for the 2011-12 season on 12 players. This included the Pastore deal, plus Alex from Chelsea and Kevin Gamerio from FC Lorient among others. The 2nd biggest spenders in Ligue 1 were OSC Lille who spent approximately €26 million euros. However, they did balance their books by selling star players such as Gervinho to Arsenal, Adil Rami to Valencia and Yohan Cabaye to Newcastle. OSC Lilles revenue totalled +€14 million, while PSGs was – €107 million, a huge gulf but a display of the spending power PSGs new owners have.

PSG finished the 2011-12 season in 2nd place with 79 points, just 3 points behind the eventual winners and surprise package Montpellier. During the 2010-12 season with the previous owners, they finished 4th with 60 points. So how do you improve a team you’ve already spent over €100 million euros on? Step forward Zlatan.

At the beginning of July, PSG announced the double signing of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimović for a reported €65 million euros. The 3 year deal for Ibrahimović saw him become the most expensive footballer in combined transfer fees, and also the 2nd best paid footballer in the World behind Samuel Eto’o, earning a net annual salary of €14 million. On the PSG official website, Ancelotti made a statement declaring Silva as ‘one of the best defenders in the world’.

Another player signed for ‘Les Parisiens’, Ezequiel Lavezzi, cost an alleged €30m from Napoli. Lavezzi formed a formidable strike force alongside Edinson Cavani and Marek Hamsik for a Napoli team who finished a modest 5th in the 2011-12 Serie A season. Lavezzi shone in the 3-1 win against Chelsea in the Champions League, where he scored twice and picked up man of the match. Lavezzi will now form a strike force for PSG alongside Ibrahimović, Kévin Gameiro and Guillaume Hoarau.

So to date, PSG have spent a further €111 million on transfers for the 2012-13 season, including a deal for Marco Verratti, the 5’5 Italian youngster who has already drawn comparisons to Andrea Pirlo. So what does the new season hold? Well the 2011-12 winners Montpellier have sold their star striker and Ligue 1 top scorer Oliver Giroud for around €13 million euros to Arsenal. OSC Lille have sold Eden Hazard for a reported €40 million to Chelsea, while loanee Joe Cole has returned to Liverpool. Rivals Lyon and Bordeaux have not spent any money to date on new singings, though both have players out on loan returning. While others around PSG seem to be spending little and selling their star players to bigger clubs, the squad PSG have seems to be strengthening by the day. By only letting 4 of their players leave on a free transfer, so far their revenues total – €111 million euros for the 2012-13 campaign. They are able to sign players for any amount while not needing to sell, with Manchester City proving this is a recipe for success.

The question is, while PSG look set for domination in Ligue 1, can they challenge in Europe? Maybe. Silva and Ibrahimovic are two players who will push PSG in the right direction. In truth, both players could play for most teams in Europe (although Ibrahimović seems like he already has!). With Ancelotti, they have a manager with experience of winning the Champions League. However, like Manchester City in the previous campaign, I believe they will fall short. They lack a world class player in midfield, an Iniesta or an Ozil, who can provide the chances for the forwards. Modric may have been the player for them, but his move to Real Madrid looks inevitable. So even after €200 million spent on players, Champions League glory may be a step too far. As with Manchester City, league success should be their first target. Then who knows?

Gavin Beard

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