PSG Tourist | PSG Tourist A Paris Saint-Germain blog Wed, 12 Aug 2015 12:07:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Why PSG’s transfer window turn-around is cause for optimism Wed, 12 Aug 2015 11:54:44 +0000

After a summer that saw Marco Verratti driving a New York taxi, Ezequiel Lavezzi posing as a sexy fireman and Zlatan launching his own perfume, it was nice to see the Paris Saint-Germain players get back to their day jobs on Friday.

A 1-0 win at Lille, our first opening day triumph since 2010, was secured thanks to a goal from Lucas Moura and despite the sending off of Adrien Rabiot, who picked up two bookings in quick succession in the first half.

I’m actually quite looking forward to this season, not least because we seem to have done some good business in the transfer market. You may remember (though given the frequency of my posts you’ll need a good memory) that I’ve previously been quite scathing of the club’s post-Leonardo recruitment policy, or lack thereof. But this year things seem to have changed, and we actually seem to be addressing needs in the squad, rather than going for a kid-in-a-sweetshop-esque grab of any big name player in the vicinity approach.

Our move for Angel Di Maria has obviously grabbed the headlines, and there were quite a few of those given that the transfer seemed to drag on forever. Previously the most bored I’d been in my life was during the Spielberg film Lincoln, but the Di Maria, will he/won’t he/he definitely will tomorrow/or maybe the next day business has now replaced that as the height of tedium.
Now the deal is over the line I’m delighted he’s here. Obviously he didn’t have the best of times at Manchester United, but he wasn’t that bad either and I think he’s more likely to flourish in a settled team environment than he was at Old Trafford, where everything was in a state of flux last year. It’s also been suggested to me several times on Twitter that ADM is happier in a supporting role rather than as the team’s star player which, given the egos in the PSG dressing room, is probably just as well. His ability to play in the midfield three or as part of the front line should be really useful, especially when the Champions League kicks in.

Elsewhere, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp has arrived and taken the number one spot from Salvatore Sirigu. I’ll confess to never having even heard of Trapp before the stories began to emerge about him coming to PSG, but early signs look promising. Personally I wouldn’t have bothered trying to upgrade Sirigu at this point, but Trapp’s seems more comfortable with the ball at his feet than his predecessor, something which Larry White apparently values. Hopefully Trapp will just be keeping the number one spot warm until Alphonse Areola is ready to step up – his loan at Villarreal should be another good step in his development.

Swapping Yohan Cabaye for Benjamin Stambouli is also a surprisingly sensible move. A player of Cabaye’s profile was never going to be happy as back-up to Motta/Matuidi/Verratti, whereas you’d imagine Stambouli will be content to fill in where needed, at least for a bit. He can also play at centre-back, an area where we’re high on quality but short on numbers.

What has motivated this apparent change in policy is unclear. It could purely be down to the lifting of FFP sanctions, or perhaps Blanc and Olivier Letang, who is the nearest thing we have to a sporting director, have been given more power to pick the targets. Certainly it seems doubtful that either of them had much influence on last year’s David Luiz transfer, which had President Nasser’s grubby fingerprints all over it. Whatever the reason, this summer has had a much more purposeful feel about it.

On the outgoings front, it’s a shame Lucas Digne is set to head off to Roma on loan, and I hope we haven’t seen the last of him in a PSG shirt. Maxwell’s consistency is admirable, but he can’t go on forever, and it seems doubtful we’ll acquire a replacement for him who has more potential than Digne.

I would have been happy to see Thiago Motta sent to pastures new, but the club has put the kybosh on that one despite the player stating several times that he wanted to leave. Motta came off the bench at Lille after we’d gone down to ten men and was at his villainous best – locking midfield down with a masterly performance that mixed tough tackling and simple passing with a liberal splash of the dark arts. While his experience is undoubtedly an asset, especially in the aforementioned Champions League, it’s time for new leaders in the team to emerge. Zlatan will probably be off next summer, Maxwell too, and getting rid of Motta would have been a step in the regeneration process. At some point we need to see whether the likes of Rabiot can step up from bit-part player to consistent performer (the early signs aren’t promising on that front), and that’s not going to happen while all the old guard are still hanging around.

It doesn’t take a French football expert to predict that PSG will probably win Ligue 1, but hopefully we can do it in a bit more style than last season, which for long periods felt like a bit of a drag. With the new additions, plus the emergence of the likes of Jean-Kevin Augustin, who impressed during the summer tour to America, the squad has a well-rounded look, and should be capable of making an impact on the Champions League too. Exciting times ahead. Hopefully.

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PSG v Chelsea: Blanc’s boys set for pancake day battering? Tue, 17 Feb 2015 15:47:18 +0000

(Selected the image mainly because it amused me. Suggested caption: “By the time I retire, my hair will be this big.”)

The Empire Strikes Back, (What’s the story) Morning Glory, Street Fighter II. Occasionally a sequel comes along that tops the original.

Fans of Paris Saint-Germain will be hoping the second instalment of PSG v Chelsea exceeds the first. You may remember last season’s Champions League quarter-final clash which ended in a victory on away goals for the Blues as a Jose Mourinho ‘tactical masterclass’ – sticking an extra striker on and lumping balls into the box – paid dividends. Terrible Twitter banter ensued.

Now the teams are preparing to meet in the last-16 of this year’s Champions League, and the smart money is on a similar result. Last year Chelsea were a team in transition, but have since metamorphosed into a typical Mourinho side – tough, fast and ruthlessly efficient. In contrast, this PSG team was probably at its peak last year, and his since suffered the effects of ageing, loss of form and injury: Cabaye, Motta and Lucas will all sit out tonight’s game, while doubts remain over the fitness of Matuidi, Pastore and Marquinhos, though all three are in the squad. Terrible Twitter banter is still rife.

Boss Larry White, who saw his side reduced to nine men due to injury as they threw away a 2-0 lead to draw with Caen, admits preparations haven’t been ideal.

“I would have loved to prepare for this match in different circumstances,” said Blanc, who every week manages to take stating the bleeding obvious to new levels.

“People say that all this can galvanise the players, the coaching staff and the fans, who need to understand we’re in difficulty at the moment. We’re taking on an opponent of great quality and we’ll have to be at our very best to get the win.”

All in all, it looks possible PSG could end up taking a pancake day battering. And speaking of tossers, Mourinho, dubbed the ‘professional shit-stirrer’ by this week’s France Football, has appeared worryingly sanguine in the run-up to tonight’s clash.

“We eliminated them last season but we lost in Paris. Everything was decided in the final minutes. We weren’t better than them, but we did score at the Parc,” said Mourinho. “They have a super team, almost the same as last season but with the addition of David Luiz. Those are great conditions for a team to make progress; they’ve had stability. We haven’t!”

Poor Jose, still gamely battling injustice. It must have been unbelievably tough for him to cope with the instability caused by bringing Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas into his already-talented squad over the summer.

In terms of PSG’s injuries, I’m not too worried about Lucas missing out, as even though he has been brilliant this season, I’m still unconvinced about his ability to perform on the big occasion. Pocho, on the other hand, seems to thrive in these kind of matches, and has a decent record in the Champions League since his transfer from Napoli.

Conversely, Thiago Motta has been pretty poor this term, but his experience would have been very handy tonight. It’s a lot to ask of Marco Verratti to be the most defensive player in a midfield facing Fabregas, Matic and Co. It’s going to be a big night for Adrien Rabiot, who hasn’t really performed since rejoining the squad but is set to start against the Blues.

Ultimately though, I agree with Blanc that defence is going to be key.

He said: “Last year, what made the difference was the goal Chelsea scored in Paris. It’s a priority to keep a clean sheet. There will be a lot of talented attacking players on the field but the paradox is that the side who defends better will have the better chances.”

We can take solace in the fact that PSG’s best performance of the season came when beating Barcelona in an earlier Champions League match. This team thrives on the big occasion, though whether that mentality will be enough to see us through against the Premier League leaders remains to be seen. I’m predicting a 1-1 draw tonight, with a 2-0 win for Chelsea in the second leg. Here’s hoping the team can prove me wrong. ALLEZ PARIS.

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I’m back and I’m angry (or why it’s time for P$G 3.0) Thu, 15 Jan 2015 09:33:51 +0000

Hi everyone, remember me? Back in the day I used to write words about Paris Saint-Germain, before taking an unannounced and indefinite hiatus.

But, like Halley’s Comet, I’ve come round again and have dusted off my blogging keyboard after becoming increasingly angry about PSG’s form, or lack thereof.

The nadir of the team’s recent meh-ness came on Saturday at the Furiani, where, after racing into a 2-0 lead, PSG somehow contrived to lose 4-2 to Bastia.

In many ways the result was a bit of a freak one; Bastia had four shots on target and scored four goals. But losing to a team who are demonstrably not very good – Bastia are 19th in the Ligue 1 standings – is a worry, not least because results elsewhere saw us slip to fourth in the table.

Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Saint-Etienne was a welcome one, but let’s face it, PSG’s season isn’t going to be defined by the team’s progress in the Coupe de la Ligue.

I have a few things I’d like to say about the current situation at the Parc des Princes, and will spew them forth now like a torrent of inarticulate bile.

Firstly, the top of Ligue 1 at it looks at present shows how premature the doom and gloom mongers were when they proclaimed the death of a competitive top division in France. At the start of the season I lost count of the number of seasoned Ligue 1 watchers saying that no-one would ever be able to live with PSG, and how the only interesting stuff in the league would be what happened below us.

Of course, as by far the league’s richest team PSG should win the title every season, but when has football ever worked like that? Atletico Madrid’s triumph over Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain last season, and Bayern Munich’s non-dominance of the Bundesliga over a number of years show that it’s by no means impossible to topple the big boys. Lyon and Marseille are proving that with smart management and a bit of ingenuity it’s possible to compensate for a lack of cash and put yourself in a position to capitalise if your rivals slip up.

And how PSG have slipped; presently we’re nine points worse off than we were at this stage last season, and arguably performance levels have gone even further backwards. A Champions League last-16 date with Chelsea looms large, and at present the chances of us competing with Jose Mourinho’s men in the same way we did last year are slimmer than an anorexic stick insect

The obvious solution to try and illicit a change is to fire the coach, but I don’t think this would be very constructive in this case. While not being the most exciting or innovative coach in the world, ol’ Larry White showed last year that he’s capable of steering the PSG ship to success while keeping the potentially mutinous crew members on-side. If we get rid of him now we’ll need to find someone else, and the market isn’t exactly jam-packed with obvious replacements.

Instead I’d be looking to make changes in the squad. Big changes. Since QSI took over, they have basically built two teams; the 2011/12, buy-anyone-who’ll-consider-joining-us squad which failed to beat Montpellier to the title, and the 2012 second wave of big names including Zlatan, Thiago Silva et al. Though the squad has been expensively tinkered with in the last couple of summers, the core of the team has remained unchanged.

And it’s a core that’s done pretty well for us, winning two Ligue 1 titles, a Coupe de la Ligue as well as holding its own in the Champions League. But despite the success, doubts over the squad’s attitude, particularly in run-of-the-mill Ligue 1 games, have persisted. I don’t have a particularly have a problem with this as long as the end result is right, and we’ve managed to dig ourselves out of many a self-inflicted hole in the last couple of seasons.

The problem for the class of 2012 is that age and injury seem to be restricting their digging ability; Greg van der Wiel has chronic knee problems, Thiago Silva seems to have been off-form for a year and has a recurring thigh injury while Maxwell, bless his heart, is 33 and starting to look it. Thiago Motta’s powers appear to be on the wane, and even Zlatan, whose output remains impressive, has yet to properly shake off his heel-knack. As a result, we’re conceding goals which might have previously been prevented, and not creating taking as many chances as we used to.

All teams have a shelf-life, and I get the feeling we’re reaching the end for this PSG squad who have brought us so many happy memories. They’re getting old and worn out together, and it’s time for the big personalities who run the dressing room to go and for a new squad to be built with the younger players at the heart of it – Marquinhos and Digne at the back, Matuidi (I know he’s 27, but humour me) and Verratti in midfield, Lucas up front.

I’m not suggesting this should happen this January, and indeed the existing team could well go on to win a third successive Ligue 1 title. But a shake-up needs to happen, and it needs someone to make it happen, which is why I think a new sporting director could be key to PSG’s immediate future. Of late our transfer policy has been as illogical as a Jeremy Menez hair-cut (miss you Jezza), and though I never thought I’d regret the departure of Leonardo, he at least had a clear plan of what he wanted to do with the team.

The current squad is built in Leo’s image, and we need a similarly strong character to come in with a plan for P$G 3.0. Otherwise, this stagnation could continue for a while yet.

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PSG: The kids don’t stand a chance. Or do they? Thu, 11 Sep 2014 10:30:15 +0000

Short of listening to U2’s new album on repeat, I struggle to think of anything more boring than the international break.

Various members of the Paris Saint-Germain squad have been off on their travels around Europe playing for their respective international teams, while the French contingent were able to stay at home, stroll through a couple of friendlies and enjoy some free video-games courtesy of Xbox. It must be a hard life.

In the absence of any on-pitch action to report, it’s some products of the PSG training centre who have been making the headlines.

Firstly, our old friend Adrien Rabiot has unsurprisingly been left out of the PSG Champions League squad. One suspects he’s going to have a lot of time on his hands between now and January.

Then we had Kingsley Coman, now of Juventus, spilling the beans on why he chose to sign a professional deal in Italy this summer rather than staying in France.

“At PSG, the youngsters are pushed to one side,” said Coman in an interview with Canal+. “It’s only when they saw I was leaving that they started talking to me, valuing me. But it was too late.”

Compare and contrast Coman – or the rascal Rabiot – with Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, who on Tuesday penned a new four-year contract at the Parc des Princes.

“Paris Saint-Germain is the perfect place to learn and progress alongside world-class players,” said some PSG marketing flunky JCB, who has bulldozed (sorry) his way into Laurent Blanc’s plans after a prolific pre-season. “I’ll do everything I can to help construct this ambitious project.”

So, who’s right? Is PSG a nasty superclub who ignores all our home-grown players, or a breeding ground for young, hungry, talent?

First off, it should be said that the differing views of these three players are probably shaped by their situations; Rabiot and Coman were/are in demand elsewhere, so it’s perhaps not surprising they’ve had their heads turned, whereas I can’t imagine too many big clubs have been looking at JCB lately following disappointing loan spells at Troyes and Valenciennes.

But even taking that into account, I think the attitude of both Rabiot (obviously) and Coman has been somewhat disappointing. The new PSG isn’t going to be the kind of club where five or six young players at a time are thrust straight into the first team, but show me a big, successful, club in Europe which adopts such a policy. They’re few and far between.

With that in mind, do Rabiot and Coman really think they can go elsewhere and get more game-time? Does Rabiot really think he’s going to start every game in a Roma midfield that includes Strootman, Pjanic and Di Rossi? Is Coman going to be a regular in a Juventus forward line where his competition is Tevez, Llorente and Morata? Coman has even stated in Le Parisien that he aims to play “15-20 games” this season – it’s far from inconceivable that he could have turned out that many times for PSG, with the team competing on four fronts. Why is it ok to go and sit on the bench at a foreign club and not a French one? It makes no sense to me.

At the same time, it seems likely that the club could have done more to keep these players happy and make them feel valued, but the players need to appreciate their place in the grand scheme of things. Coman only turned 18 in June, Rabiot is 19 – both could have easily bided their time to see how things panned out this season, rather than jumping ship – or wanting to jump ship – at the first opportunity

Rabiot and Coman could en prendre de la graine (as the French say) from Bahebeck, who let his football do the talking in pre-season, and is now in pole position to start should one of the regulars get injured.

It may turn out that Bahebeck’s faith in himself – and PSG’s willingness to use him – is misplaced, and that Rabiot and Coman are right to move on. But it would have been nice if the latter pair had shown a bit of patience with the club that spent the last few years nurturing their talents.

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Rabiot no go: Alternative careers for PSG’s Adrien after Roma move falls through Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:03:24 +0000 ]]> 0 PSG 2-0 Bastia: Brandao makes the head-lines as injuries hit Paris Mon, 18 Aug 2014 14:20:15 +0000

If Ligue 1 were a pantomime it’s likely that there would be plenty of people ready to cast Brandao in the role of the villain.

Though audible boos and hisses don’t usually accompany the Brazilian striker on to the pitch, his physical style of play does little to win him friends among opponents. Or, as Le Parisien puts it today:

“His style of moving, elbows regularly caressing the faces of opponents, and his rudimentary technique, coupled with chronic clumsiness, saw him quickly labelled a lumberjack.”

Elbows regularly caressing opponents faces? No one ever described Duncan Ferguson thus. French is such a beautiful language.

Already an unpopular figure in Paris due to his association with that lot from the south and his elbow on Yohan Cabaye during our match against St Etienne last season, Brandao futher blotted his copy-book by head-butting Thiago Motta in the players’ tunnel at the Parc des Princes following Saturday’s 2-0 win for PSG over his current club, Bastia. There’s no need to stick an ‘allegedly’ in there as the video evidence is pretty conclusive, and Motta has a broken nose.

Bastia released a statement this afternoon saying they are taking no further action against the player, and laying the blame at the feet of Motta himself, who was apparently chipping away at the Corsican players all match using some fruity language. Personally I find it difficult to believe that Motta, a man famous for his embodiment of the Corinthian spirit, would display such behaviour, but there you go. One suspects a lengthy ban and a hefty fine will be coming Brandao’s way once the LFP have finished their deliberations over the incident.

Brandao’s bonce has distracted from a couple of more important matters; PSG got their first Ligue 1 win of the season courtesy of a fine back post finish from Lucas Moura, and a well-taken second from Edinson Cavani, which owed much to the vision and quick-thinking of Marco Verratti, who enjoyed a fine game at the heart of the midfield.

But the victory came at a price, with Greg van der Wiel departing injured at half-time, joining Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the treatment room. VdW has a fractured vertebrae, an injury which sounds horrific but one that will apparently only keep him out for ten days or so. Ibra’s problem, a strained muscle in the chest, is more serious, and he’s looking at least a month on the sidelines.

With Motta likely to miss a game or two while he gets his nose fixed (apparently Lucas Digne knows a man who can help), it will leave PSG without the spine of the team – Silva; Motta; Zlatan – which served them so well last season.

While I doubt any of the other Ligue 1 teams will be getting the violins out in sympathy, we didn’t cope very well last year without our key men, Ibra especially. It will be up to the rest of the squad to step up to the plate as we face matches against two of our recent bogey sides – Evian and St Etienne – in the coming weeks.

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More professionalism required from PSG skipper Thiago Silva Tue, 12 Aug 2014 08:56:50 +0000 Football is back, and Paris Saint-Germain have, er, treated us to two matches in four days.

Friday night saw the Ligue 1 campaign get underway with a frantic 2-2 draw at Reims. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice, and missed a penalty and an open goal as PSG made their traditionally underwhelming start to the new season.

Then, last night saw Les Rouge-et-Bleu claim a 2-1 win over Napoli in a friendly to win the Acqua Lete Cup. Having fallen behind to a Gonzalo Higuain goal, Zlatan levelled before Javier Pastore pranced through the home defence to slot in an eye-catching winner.

The timing of the friendly, which was arranged as part of the Ezequiel Lavezzi transfer in 2012, seemed a little non-sensical, coming three days after the start of the actual season. And it proved to be a costly night for coach Laurent Blanc as skipper Thiago Silva limped off with a recurrence of the thigh injury that has plagued him for the last year. Early estimates suggest he’ll be out for about a month.

“This was the dark of the evening,” said Blanc afterwards. “He suffered a muscular strain. I hope it will not be too serious.”

Amen to that, but the annoying thing is that this injury was entirely preventable from the point of view of both the player and the club.

Silva himself is starting to annoy me a bit. I didn’t have a massive problem when he visibly took his foot off the pedal at the end of the season to ensure he was fit for the World Cup; PSG were home and dry in the league anyway, and leading your country in a home World Cup isn’t a chance that comes up very often.

But that tournament is over now, and he needs to pull himself together and consider whether his behaviour in the last couple of weeks has displayed a level of professionalism that befits PSG’s club captain and one of the world’s best defenders. He only returned to training three days before the Reims match, yet apparently insisted on starting. Then, according to Le Parisien, he again asked to play against Napoli despite having felt a twinge in his thigh.

What possibly benefit could come from playing two games in three days so soon after resuming training? Part of being a great player is knowing your body, and as he gets older Silva will have to recognise that he can’t play in every match, especially if his thigh continues to trouble him. He’s generally been superb for us over the last two seasons, but this doesn’t mean he can afford to let his ego to make decisions.

On the other hand, players always want to play and, if TS did report a slight issue after the Reims game, Blanc and his staff should have stood up to the captain and asked him to sit the Napoli match out.

“Thiago resumed training since July 25, before returning to Paris,” explained Blanc. “Last year, he returned quickly for the Champions Trophy. Everything went well, and you did not ask me these questions then.”

It’s often said that Ibrahimovic and Silva really run things in the PSG dressing room, not Blanc, and incidents like this do little to dispel that theory.

Anyway, a positive to come from the weekend was the form of Pastore, who had a hand in both goals against Reims before netting the winner against Napoli.

I’ve written at length on the subject of Pastore before, and as far as I’m concerned nothing has changed. Doing it against Reims (with all due respect etc and so on) and then in a friendly is not the same as playing consistently well throughout a season. But at the moment he’s making himself an important of the team, and long may it continue.

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PSG predictions 2014/15, feat. Captain Lavezzi and movie-star Zlatan Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:14:59 +0000 ]]> 0 Aurier arrival marks Serge in PSG transfer activity Thu, 24 Jul 2014 13:41:34 +0000 Serge looks happy to be Dreaming Bigger

Serge looks happy to be Dreaming Bigger

Football’s relationship with social media possibly broke new ground yesterday, with Paris Saint-Germain’s new right-back Serge Aurier announcing his move to the Parc des Princes via Snapchat.

I don’t use Snapchat, but from what I understand it seems like the worst possible medium by which to communicate such a message, as whatever you send out disappears after a set period of time. Perhaps Aurier was unsure of whether to make the move to PSG, so decided to cover all bases in case he changed his mind.

Wonder if he snap-chatted this to Jallet to let him know

Wonder if he snap-chatted this to Jallet to let him know

Anyway, he’s here now, and having had a moan the other week about PSG not signing younger players, I’m obviously pretty chuffed. At 21, Aurier is one of the brightest prospects in Ligue 1, having come up through the academy at Lens before moving to Toulouse in the January 2012 transfer window. Capable of playing at centre-back as well as his normal right-back position, he’ll be a versatile asset to have in the squad.

I asked the good people behind the @ToulouseFCUK Twitter account for a quick assessment on our new boy. Be sure to give them a follow if you’re that way inclined:

“He’s strong, fast, lots of stamina and runs until the end! He’s ok defensively, but as he is young and not very experienced he gets caught out of position sometimes. He still has a lot to learn but is a great young prospect who for a defender loves to gets forward scoring and assisting goals. A great asset to any team.”

“I will give my maximum to help the club reach the summits,” said Aurier, donning his crampons and sharpening his ice pick. “To play for Paris Saint-Germain, with the exceptional players this club has, is a dream come true.”

No mention of Dream Bigger? The marketing department must be on holiday. Aurier will take Christophe Jallet’s place in the squad, with the former Lorient right-back having packed up his extra-long socks and decamped to Lyon. Bonne chance Christophe.

Aurier is not technically our player yet, with the club having agreed an Financial Fair Play (FFP)-dodging season-long loan deal, with an obligation to buy at the end of it. Word on the internet-rumour street is that we’re proposing a similar deal for Real Madrid’s Angel Di Maria, who is also interesting Manchester United.

Generally I’m not one of these snobby fans who has a problem with PSG having money; I think we’re good for the profile of Ligue 1, and really who wouldn’t rather have Zlatan leading the line for their club than Amara Diane? Things definitely weren’t better in the old days. But these farcical loan arrangements don’t sit very comfortably with me.

You’ll remember that, according to FFP sanctions set down by UEFA, PSG are not meant to be spending more than €60million on players this summer, as well as reducing their wage bill. However you dress it up, bring in Aurier and Di Maria, on top of the completely illogical signing of David Luiz, is unlikely to comply with either of these targets.

The club may have found a loophole, but that doesn’t mean it’s right to use it. We already have a lot of good players, and I would rather see PSG act with a bit of dignity, take the medicine from UEFA, and pursue further transfer targets at a later date. Riding rough-shod over the rules is unlikely to win us any friends, or dispel the nouveau-riche, do-what-we-like, image that the club has elsewhere.

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PSG: Tinder-ing their way through the summer transfer window? Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:09:11 +0000 No friends in common? Is that a good thing?

No friends in common? Is that a good thing?

Paris Saint-Germain’s transfer policy so far this summer has been so random that I’m beginning to wonder if they’re using a footballing version of the dating app Tinder.

As a happily married man I have no first-hand experience of Tinder, but my, ahem, detailed research tells me it works as follows; you set your parameters (for example, male, 25-30, first name Jeremy) then get presented with a list of photos, on which you swipe right if you like them and left if you don’t.

I can just picture the scene at President Nasser’s secret lair, which is presumably housed in a hollowed-out volcano on an island off the coast of Qatar. He’s reclining in a big leather chair, flicking through his phone looking at potential targets.

Eliaquim, 23, Portugal – Never heard of him, looks a bit unrefined for me. Swipes left.

David, 27, England – I know him! And he’s got cool hair! Swipes right. What do you mean I have to pay €50million for a date?

Dani, 31, Spain – I remember this guy; I swiped right on him a while back, and we chatted for some time, but now I’m not so sure. Think he’s a bit old for me. Swipes left.

Mathieu, 29, England – Another familiar face, my buddy Yohan says he’s a sure thing too. Swipes right.

Ignazio, 27, Italy – Who doesn’t love an Italian stallion? Swipes right.

Serge, 21, France – Can’t make up my mind on this one. On the one hand loads of other guys are after him, but how am I going to impress my rich friends with someone they’ve never heard of? Swipes…

It might not have gone down exactly like that, but I am getting a bit worried that we don’t have a plan when it comes to recruitment this summer. I was never Leonardo’s biggest fan as a director of football, but he at least seemed to have a clear idea of what he wanted to achieve when building the PSG squad: established stars (Ibra, Thiago Silva, Cavani) alongside some of the best young talent in world football (Marquinhos, Lucas Moura, Digne). There was at least some adherence to the ‘new Messi’s’ policy trumpeted by QSI when they took over.

This year so far we’ve seen no evidence of such a strategy. Firstly there’s David Luiz; now I like watching Luiz play in the same way that I like watching Jeremy Kyle – it’s entertaining as long as you’re safe in the knowledge that the situation has nothing to do with you. The prospect of him marauding up field and abandoning his responsibilities next season doesn’t fill me with joy. And regardless of his merits or value as a player, he’s hardly a direct replacement for the physical presence of Alex; surely a move for the imposing figure of Magala, a younger player who is likely to improve in the coming years, would have made more sense? Buying an established name means Laurent Blanc will be under pressure to play him every week, which is unlikely to please Marquinhos, who will undoubtedly be looking to play more games this season.

A similar story is playing out now in our pursuit of a new right-back. PSG appear to be dallying about making a bid for Toulouse’s Serge Aurier, a 21-year-old player with bags of potential who has enjoyed a decent World Cup and is reportedly available for €8million. Instead they seem more keen on pursuing bigger name players such as AC Milan’s Ignazio Abate or Newcastle’s Mathieu Debuchy.

Obviously Abate/Debuchy would be an upgrade on Christophe Jallet, but surely it’s a no brainer that you’d put the younger, more promising player at the top of your shopping list? The problem I have with signing people like Luiz, Abate or Debuchy is the same one I expressed when we purchased Yohan Cabaye; I just don’t see the point. PSG already have enough good-not-great players to pad out the squad; when they go into the transfer market now they should be to acquire top level signings or players who are going to develop and become mainstays of the team in the medium to long term. Getting two or three seasons out of a decent Italian right-back doesn’t fit either of those categories.

At present it seems like we’re going after any big name player who is available and being hawked about by their agent (hi Mino!). While Sporting Directors aren’t immune to this kind of thing, it might be time for PSG to consider appointing a man with a plan.

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