Can PSG conquer Europe?

With the arrival of £27m defender Marquinhos from Italian side AS Roma, Paris St Germain have now spent close to £100m during the past month on bolstering their already formidable squad in preparation for the defence of the Ligue 1 title they claimed last year and a renewed assault on the Champions League. Can they now claim to be realistic contenders amongst Europe’s elite?

First we saw Chelsea bought by Roman Abramovich in the summer of 2002 and the subsequent spending spree that immediately followed, as the Russian billionaire bankrolled a huge list of expensive transfers in order to take the club from relative obscurity to title winners within just a few years. Then came the turn of Manchester City, who managed to lift the Premier League trophy at the end of the 2011 / 2012 season for the first time in 44 years, thanks to the generosity of the Abu Dhabi group and their huge wealth. Before they took control of the club in 2008 it seemed completely absurd to believe that City would ever be able to become Premiership champions, but the megastars such as Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, David Silva and others have taken the club to the next level and been rewarded with success.

One of the most recent purchases of a club occurred in France just a few years ago, when Qatar Investment Authority decided to buy PSG, with the aim of taking the Parisian club back to where they believed it should be. Most capital cities in Europe have several football clubs based there, such as Arsenal and Chelsea in London, Roma and Lazio in Italy, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in Spain, etc. Paris has a unique situation where only one large team exists in the city and therefore they should be able to call upon millions of residents for support. This was one of the main factors behind the decision to invest in the club and they have certainly not held back with the spending since arriving in May 2011.

PSG’s most expensive transfers since 2011.

£56m – Edinson Cavani 
£40m – Thiago Silva
£40m – Javier Pastore
£27m – Ezequiel Lavezzi
£27m – Marquinhos
£21m – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Consequently, the elusive league title they last claimed in 1994 was finally won a few months ago, courtesy of a Carlo Ancelotti managed team that finished 12 points clear of second placed Marseille. Although they were knocked out of the Champions League by an under-performing Barcelona, they played some good football and showed obvious signs that they could potentially go further in the competition. 

The close season is always a time for planning for the following campaign, but PSG’s preparations this summer seem to have been directly affected by another French club that has just been promoted from Ligue 2. Monaco are the newest club to receive super rich owners on their doorstep, happy to spend whatever it takes to succeed. Falcao’s £50m move followed the combined signing of Porto duo Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez for £60m and alarm bells began to ring in the French capital. The response has been swift and effective; break the French transfer record in bringing in Uruguayan striker Cavani from Napoli and then sign one of the most sought after central defenders in Europe just a week later for another huge fee.

We could be set for an almighty battle for the French title this year, although PSG will also have thoughts on Europe’s biggest prize. They now appear to have the squad to compete with the very best but can they produce when it matters?

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