PSG vs Monaco – The battle of the wallets

Monaco’s free spending return to Ligue 1 has the potential to set up quite the rivalry between fellow money bags Paris Saint-Germain.

Holders PSG undoubtedly go into the campaign as favourites – and rightly so given that they are several years in front of Monaco when it comes to building a star studded line up.  On paper the Parisians have a side that looks as strong as anyone in world football and they have to be considered amongst the favourites to lift the biggest prize in European football, as well as the French domestic crown.

In truth, PSG would have gone into this season as the fancied side even had they not spent a penny – so adding Uruguayan hot shot Edinson Cavani should only strengthen their grip on French football. Cavani was the top scorer in Serie A last term and one of the most sought after players in world football, so this is a signing that smashes to pieces any doubt that PSG are not the current superpower in European football.

With Cavani joining the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura and Ezequiel Lavezzi, to name a few – it is hard to see anyone mounting a significant challenge to them domestically in France. That was of course until Monaco and their endless millions came along. PSG’s rise to the top of French football came about at an impressive pace, however Monaco are currently at an even more alarming rate of growth. Backed the billions of  Dmitry Rybolovlev and the loop hole of not having the expenditure of tax the principality state have conducted some of the most astonishing business ever made by a newly promoted side. Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho are three of their most notable captures – with these players alone taking their spending beyond £100 million. This spending has quashed any belief that Monaco would gradually look to build a side over a number of years that would eventually build a title challenge, with these signings indicating a desire for instant success.

Whilst it could be argued that these big name signings mean that Monaco can now match PSG in terms of superstar talent, it is difficult to mount to a case against the view that PSG do not possess a far stronger overall squad. Within the PSG squad it’s hard to pin point a real area of weakness, whereas with Monaco there are clearly areas that still require significant improvement, for example in the back line. If you were to compare the squad’s man for man the Parisians would be the overwhelming winners. Of course the spending spree is far from finished and by the end of the window Monaco are likely to have brought in several further players to at least cut the gap – that said the extra couple of years that PSG have had to build their squad is likely to take more than one season of Monaco spending to match.

One possible area where PSG could be weaker is that in losing Carlo Ancelotti they have lost one of the world’s best managers – perhaps highlighting that whilst their financial power can’t be matched they are not quite at the supremacy level of Real Madrid. Laurent Blanc has replaced the Italian and whilst he has had success in the French league with Bordeaux his CV is someway off that of Ancelotti, whilst it remains to be seen whether he can firstly man manage so many star names and secondly handle the extensive expectations. Claudio Ranieri is the man tasked with leading the Monaco revolution and although he does bring vast experience he has been around the block more than a couple of times – further to that it remains to be seen how he handles the pressure, particularly after a slightly disappointing stint with strong financial backing at Chelsea. So although PSG are weakened in regards to a change in manager, there are also similar questions regarding Ranieri.

Whatever happens, PSG and Monaco look destined for a long rivalry at the top of French football – so confident are the bookmakers of this that third favourites to lift the league title Marseille, are rated at odds of over 20/1. There will be many in France frustrated by what has occurred in French football over the last few years and you can’t blame the other clubs for that. Whilst Ligue 1 has certainly lost the unpredictability that once typified it. That said these are still extremely exciting for the domestic game for now the world’s best players are coming rather than leaving France and who knows in two or three years they could have two genuine champions league winning contenders.

PSG v Monaco will be the game everyone wants to view this season and the excitement surrounding the fixture is only likely to grow by the year as the principality state grow closer to their Parisian rivals – for now though it would be foolish to look anywhere else than PSG for the title.