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PSG will actually play to their potential in the Champions League this season

PSG are such spoil sports.

In recent years, the rest of us sniggered as they spent hundreds of millions on players who occupy positions in which they are already well stocked.

Predictably, their gross imbalance allowed them to dominate Ligue 1 while being continuously exposed in Champions League knockout ties.

It was, I think we can all agree, great fun.

Admit it, you laughed

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Admit it, you laughed

However, I regret to announce the days of laughing at PSG’s ignorance may be over.

Sadly, it seems the Parisians have figured out squad balance is more important than shirt sales.

PSG’s recruitment this summer has been uncharacteristically savvy.

They started by triggering Pablo Sarabia’s scandalously affordable release clause (€18million) and supplemented it with a little extra to ensure they were in prime position ahead of a dozen other interested parties.

The 27-year-old was Sevilla’s best player last season, scoring 12 goals and providing 13 assists in La Liga alone.

In terms of the latter statistic, only Lionel Messi matched Sarabia in Spain’s top flight.

Numbers

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Numbers

Two days later, PSG confirmed Ander Herrera on a free.

Many Man United fans were gutted to see the combative Spanish midfielder’s contract expire.

Herrera may not be as technically gifted as Angel Di Maria or Julian Draxler, but he is of a militant nature and will go a long way to establishing PSG’s previously non-existent backbone.

Next came Abdou Diallo for a rumoured fee of €32million.

The 23-year-old Frenchman impressed for Thomas Tuchel’s former side Borussia Dortmund in 2018/19 and has been tipped for a bright future.

You only have to look at Harry Maguire’s transfer fee to see the premium attached to centre-backs these days.

PSG need more scrappers like Herrera

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PSG need more scrappers like Herrera

Most recently, the Ligue 1 champions announced Idrissa Gueye.

The Senegal international may be 29 years old but he is the exact player PSG have been missing in recent times.

Last season, Marquinhos was converted from a centre-back to a defensive midfielder in an attempt to jam a square peg into a glaring circular hole.

They even gave unattached Lassana Diarra an 18-month contract, such was their lack of resources in midfield.

No player, not even N’Golo Kante, has made as many tackles in the Premier League as Gueye in the last three seasons.

He may not have arrived to as much fanfare as Neymar or Kylian Mbappe, but he’s the most necessary signing PSG have made in years — £30million? Worth every penny.

Missing piece to the puzzle

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Missing piece to the puzzle

Those who aren’t convinced by Alphonse Areola will say they need a new keeper to complete a near-perfect transfer window.

But I reckon they’re near enough there as it is.

I imagine Thomas Tuchel (and FFP regulators) is to blame for the annoyingly sensible revision of the club’s transfer policy.

The pragmatic German was tasked with straightening out PSG’s kinks in May of 2018 and their professional performance away at Old Trafford in the Champions League round of 16 hinted at a successful development.

But ill discipline in the second leg at the Parc des Princes prompted comments of ‘same old PSG 😂’ as they once again crumbled in the competition they are most desperate to win.

Will PSG ditch their ‘pretenders’ tag

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Will PSG ditch their ‘pretenders’ tag

A bolstered midfield gives Tuchel the balance he needs to finally fulfil PSG’s potential in Europe.

I’m not saying they will definitely win it, but I think they will compete to an acceptable standard — that is to say, they won’t embarrass themselves in the manner of the last three seasons.

Semi-finals, perhaps?

Neymar is the most intriguing variable at this stage.

An outrageous and temperamental talent, the Brazilian is difficult enough to manage at the best times, let alone when his heart is set on a return to Barcelona.

If Tuchel can tame his No10, PSG’s best XI will rival Europe’s elite.

And if he can’t… well, a front three of Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Di Maria is more than sufficient.

Something to consider

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Something to consider

So there you have it, a bold pre-season prediction.

All I ask is that you send me screenshots of this article when PSG inevitably lose 4-0 at home in the second leg of the round of 16.


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