PSG are on the verge of football history. If they can beat Auxerre in the French Cup final on May 30th, they will be the first French team to win every domestic trophy in one season including the league, both cups and the shitty Community Shield-type thing at the start of the season. Not bad.
In Europe too, PSG have done well qualifying for the quarter finals for the third year running, knocking out Mourinho’s Chelsea with style before logically failing to get past Barcelona. After such a successful season, how can PSG improve an already solid squad? Here’s how I’d go about the summer business.
I like Sirigu. He’s a talented goalie and the only ‘star’ to have made the effort of learning the language quickly on arrival at the club. However, his form has been disappointing this season, and he’s failed to make an impact in big matches. In the Champions League, the contrast between him and Courtois was particularly blatant.
With players like Cech and Lloris on the market, I would seriously consider selling Sirigu. Cech looks set for Arsenal, but the French keeper would probably cost around £20m. Meanwhile, the sale of Sirigu would probably raise half the fee.
This is great as PSG are still tied by Financial Fair Play and ‘only’ have an estimated £50m to spend this summer. Young academy keeper Areola will return from loan in the summer. He seems pretty good, so I’d establish him as number 2 with Douchez third choice.
Total cost of adjustments: £10m
After years of loyal services, veteran Zoumana Camara will retire at the end of the season. He was only 4th choice so no need to invest greatly to replace him, although someone will need to be brought in for squad size’s sake. Roma defender Philippe Mexes will be a free agent at the end of the season, although he’s got a massive contract in Italy and may not want to be backup. Lazio’s Ciani and Liverpool’s Toure will also be available and could be viable options.
With Thiago Silva still brilliant at the back, David Luiz doing a great job since joining and Marquinhos improving every week, the central position seems well covered indeed. Although he’s ageing, Maxwell can still hold the fort for another season at left back, with Digne a promising second choice.
At right back, Van der Wiel has failed to impress for 2 years now: his defensive play has always been questionable and his attacking play lacks end product. For me his time’s up, and he could probably raise £5m if sold. My first choice replacement would be Alves who’s out of contract in the summer. Another interesting Dani would be Madrid’s Carvajal: he’s still young and could be available on the cheap after struggling in their recent clash with Juventus.
Total cost of adjustments: estimated £5m profit if Alves brought in
An area where many have impressed this season. In Matuidi, Verratti and Pastore, PSG have found a solid and reliable midfield trio. Rabiot has also displayed very promising performances and is one to watch for the future.
Having said that, I do think PSG have to try and go for Pogba. Probably Europe’s most wanted player right now, he’s also the most talented under 22 in world football. He’s one of my favourite players at the moment. But his transfer won’t be cheap: I reckon he’ll go for around £60.
In order to finance the transfer, the sale of Cabaye could be an option. He’s never replicated his Newcastle form for us, and he’s still highly rated in the Premier League so a fee around £15m wouldn’t be unreasonable. Motta’s been a fantastic player for PSG in the past, but constant injuries and an ageing body have meant he’s not been the same this season. At his age, his sale probably wouldn’t raise much more than a couple of millions.
Total cost of adjustments: if Pogba can be convinced, estimated £43m of loss
Bahebeck isn’t good enough to play for PSG, so he’d have to go. Probably would raise £3-4m tops. Instead, youngster Ongenda could come in as replacement. Other than that I wouldn’t change much. Zlatan probably won’t go anywhere this summer, and I’d actually keep Cavani for now: I think he’ll be better next year and with Ibra becoming more regularly injured we need two class strikers.
I’d sell Lavezzi, who’s end product simply isn’t good enough for a team that wants to compete with the very best. His sale would probably generate £10-15m, an amount which could be invested towards a loan for Di Maria with an option to buy next season, after which FFP restrictions will be less of a burden.
Total cost of adjustments: £3-4m profit from Bahebeck transfer
Conclusion: with experienced players such as Lloris, Alves and Di Maria coming in, this summer plan would certainly improve the quality of the first team and squad depth. Signing Pogba would be an incredible coup, although that’s rather unlikely. The wage bill would probably go up as a result of such big profile acquisitions, which would need to be carefully monitored. On the other hand, the sales of Lavezzi and Motta would be a big financial relief in terms of salary.
In terms of the transfer budget though, this strategy would perfectly fit the amount reportedly available for transfer spending.
Who said football was complicated, eh?
My PSG XI for the 2015-6 season