The summer that does everything differently: PSG in check

The summer that does everything differently: PSG in check

It should be the summer that makes everything better. Now Paris St. Germain will play against Lorient without Messi, without Mbappé and possibly even without Neymar at the league opener on Saturday (9 p.m., LIVE! at kicker). The rift between the club’s management and superstar Mbappé and the emerging rumors about a Neymar departure are currently overriding all other topics in the French capital. A lot will remain unclear until the end of the transfer window, but one thing seems almost certain: it is at least the summer that makes everything different.

How did the transfer window go?

At the moment the question should be more: How will the transfer window go? Because there are still a lot of decisions to be made before the deadline on September 1st, which will have a massive impact on the quality of the squad, especially on the offensive. Is Kylian Mbappé leaving – and if not, will PSG use him? Will key player Neymar part ways? Is long-time midfield anchor Marco Verratti saying goodbye to Saudi Arabia? Is Ousmane Dembelé’s transfer still going through? And will PSG get Randal Kolo Muani on top of that?

So far, PSG has given up two greats of world football in Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos and brought in a lot of “1b material”: The central defense was sensibly strengthened with Lucas Hernandez (FC Bayern) and Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan), Manuel Ugarte (Sporting Lisbon) should be the new clear six in front of the defense, which the team has been missing so far. Attacking are Kang-in Lee (RCD Mallorca) and Marco Asensio (Real Madrid) but not the names you are used to in Paris. Only Goncalo Ramos (Benfica Lisbon), who was initially brought on loan, should quickly have a regular place here.

What gives hope, what worries?

When a team has three of the best soccer players in the world in its ranks and may not have it by the end of the transfer window, a sharp drop in quality is inevitable. In the recent past, it was often only the individual class of Neymar or Mbappé that carried PSG to mandatory victories in the sometimes inexplicably lethargic appearances in Ligue 1. And how much the team in the Champions League was dependent on Mbappé was shown impressively in the round of 16 first leg against FC Bayern.

Paradoxically, it is precisely this loss that could offer hope in the long run. Because under the new coach Luis Enrique, the game that was purely based on the qualities of the stars should be over. “My first task as a coach is to guarantee the collective,” said the Spaniard at his presentation in July. A clear handwriting in the game idea given by the coach was not to be seen at PSG under either Mauricio Pochettino or Christophe Galtier.

The defense, which was often shaky in the pre-season, should become more stable, especially in the head office with the newcomers – and the prospect of building up two young and developable players as difference players in the offensive with Goncalo Ramos and possibly Randal Kolo Muani also offers long-term opportunities. But as a first consequence, PSG have some problems in the house.

It is still completely unclear with which attackers PSG can really plan. And it doesn’t matter whether Neymar and Mbappé end up playing alongside Goncalo Ramos or Dembelé and Kolo Muani – it will take time for the new storm to find itself. The fact that there are sometimes completely different types of players does not make the situation any easier for Luis Enrique – and the opening program in the league could be more rewarding: after the supposedly easy tasks against Lorient and Toulouse, runners-up Lens, the ambitious teams from Nice and Lyon are waiting as well as constant competitor Marseille four tough chunks in a row.

The next two months could put PSG to the test. The personal details of Mbappé and Neymar contain explosive power, with sports consultant Luis Campos and even Luis Enrique there are already rumors of early resignation – and the Qatari leadership is more than ever on a confrontational course to underpin its own power. A mix that could become extremely explosive if failed on the transfer market and on the pitch.


Regardless of the personal details in the attack, PSG is facing a discovery phase. A change has been initiated – and when Mbappé and Neymar leave, there will finally be little left of the once dazzling superstar ensemble. This could have a positive effect on the club’s development in the long term, but this season the club could face a transitional year. In the league, the quality – whether with or without Mbappé – should always be enough for a sovereign championship, but in the Champions League PSG is not one of the narrow favorites this year.


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