By Panos Bletsos
You guessed wrong. I’m not talking about Paris Saint-Germain’s inability to deliver the kind of excitement and results its overly expensive signings promised for. Besides, it’s still too early in the season and there’s good chance the club’s glory days will revive sooner rather than later.
Something else has been bothering me with Qatar Investment Authority’s urgency to transform the club from significant to massive. How certain are the PSG bosses that ALL of the Parisians’ new recruits are better than their predecessors?
QIA took over Saint-Germain in June last year and since then they invested heavily, spending a breathtaking 316 million dollars on new players, while also replacing low profile Tony Kombouaré with cosmopolitan Carletto Ancelotti. Last season PSG finished runners-up in Ligue 1, which may not have been bad, but it was certainly not what the Qataris were hoping for. So, they spent some more. But when new faces come in some others have to make way.
And this is where my objections arise, starting from the back four. OK, 55.3-million-man Thiago Silva is arguably one of the best centre backs on the planet and can potentially form a real defensive wall alongside fellow Brazilian Alex, brought in from Chelsea in January. Therefore, I can understand letting Milan Biševac go, although perhaps not to PSG’s rivals Olympique Lyonnais and not for less than what he was brought in for a year ago. What I cannot comprehend is marginalizing Diego Lugano. Just like Ivory Coast international left back Siaka Tiéné, the Uruguay captain has not seen a single minute of action this campaign and has even been omitted from the club’s UEFA Champions League squad – even though he says he doesn’t mind…
While Sylvain Armand is also stepping down the pecking order on the left side of defense, Christophe Jallet’s form suggests there was no obvious reason for the French outfit to spend 7.9 million dollars just before the transfer window shut down to sign another top-shelf right-sided full back in Gregory van der Wiel.
And it’s the same policy up front too. This summer alone Saint-Germain spent an incredible 130 million to bolster their midfield and attack, including Brazilian sensation Lucas Moura who will move to the City of Light in January. That’s great, but it also means a number of key players, some of them signed as recently as last season, will have to make way. Want names?
Mathieu Bodmer and Guillaume Hoarau (who’s netted 54 times in 153 PSG outings) have only played once this season, 33-year-old Guy Luyindula has not kicked a ball in a first team shirt since March 2011 (!), while even the man himself, Nenê, only stayed at the club because Milan would not meet the asking price. Yes, we’re talking about perhaps the greatest football artist plying his trade in France, at least before the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimović. Thumbs up for Mevlüt Erdinç, who foresaw what was coming and moved to Stade Rennais last January…
Panos Bletsos has been a contributing writer to Soccer 365 for the past year or so, but has spent nearly two decades covering the Beautiful Game for a number of media, including Goal.com. Based in Greece, he also served as a Euro 2012 TV commentator for the public broadcast corporation ERT. You can follow him on Twitter @PanosBletsos.
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