PSG ready for Champions League challenge
Paris St Germain have been among the biggest spenders in Europe in recent years. They have established themselves as top dog in France but are still to make significant progress in European competition.
Laurent Blanc has again been busy in the transfer market this summer with the £50million signing of former Chelsea defender David Luiz has proved controversial. The Brazilian was singled out for heavy criticism following his country’s humiliating 7-1 defeat against Germany with the general view being that PSG had paid far too much for the player.
Ironically, they were fined precisely the same amount for their failure to meet the new Financial Fair Play Rules. English Premier League Champions Manchester City recently parted with striker Alvaro Negredo and cited the ruling as the main reason for his surprise exit.
The UEFA ruling means that the club must not increase their wage bill for the next two seasons and must limit their spending in the transfer market. Chelsea are widely acknowledged as having managed their transfer dealings very astutely, the sale of Luiz enabling them to bring Costa and Fabregas to Stamford Bridge without breaching the guidelines. Any dealings in the near future for PSG will have to follow this trading pattern.
Blanc has some top International players in his ranks including Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani and the pressure is on to bring European success to France. A late goal from Demba Ba ended PSG’s Champions League hopes last season and they start a new campaign this week with plenty of expectation on their shoulders.
Club President Nasser Al-Khelaifi has called the punishment a “tremendous handicap” but PSG have won the French title for the past two seasons and are hot favourites to complete a hat-trick. Luiz will be paired with countryman Thiago Silva in defence while Ivory Coast International Serge Aurier has joined PSG on a year-long loan from Toulouse. Yohan Cabaye joined the French side for a fee of around £20m from Newcastle in January.
Blanc’s biggest challenge may be finding a solution to fielding both Cavani and Ibrahimovic in the same team. While Ibrahimovic scored forty goals in all competitions last season, Cavani was clearly unhappy with being asked to play wide. PSG will have a good test of their credentials with Barcelona the opponents on match day 2. A victory in that game would send a clear message to the rest of Europe that PSG’s investment is ready to pay dividends on the top European stage.