With Paris Saint-Germain free to spend about €100m again this summer, supporters can once again dream of Champions League glory.
The recent signing of Kevin Trapp from Eintracht Frankfurt caught many by surprise as supporters expected a big name like Hugo Lloris or Petr Cech to replace Salvatore Sirigu at Paris. With Sirigu coming off a below par season, especially in the Champions League, the signing of Trapp—who has been compared to Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen—is a welcomed signing.
— PSG English (@PSG_English) July 8, 2015
Paris still have a lot of work to do in the summer transfer window. They already have a strong enough starting XI to compete with Europe’s top clubs but the main issue in the Champions League last season was the lack of quality depth in the squad. This was highlighted in the home match against Barcelona in the quarter-finals, where Yohan Cabaye and Adrien Rabiot’s performances struggled and an unfit David Luiz had to play over 60 minutes with 36-year-old Zoumana Camara and 19-year-old Presnel Kimpembe on the bench.
If PSG dreams of a Champions League trophy are to be realized, they must strengthen the squad this transfer window. Below, I have outlined where I believe they should focus their attention.
Goalkeeper: With Trapp signing, PSG have taken a huge gamble due to his lack of experience at the highest level but a move which will hopefully pay dividend as Nicolas Douchez and Sirigu’s role at the club is yet to be determined.
Center Back: PSG already feature three quality defenders in Luiz, Thiago Silva, and Maquinhos but the lack of a fourth centre back last season cost them as all three suffered injuries at crucial times due to lack of rotation. On paper, Camara was the fourth CB, but manager Laurent Blanc didn’t seem to trust him enough. This year, Kimpembe has been touted to step up as a replacement for Camara but I fear that it could be a similar case. Blanc needs to be sure if he really trusts Kimpembe enough to be willing to let him start a few league and cup matches during the season. If not, another CB should be targeted. I’d suggest Aymen Abdennour or a player of that caliber. A very decent defender who already has enough experience and will be willing to sit on bench.
Right Back: I’m already a big fan of Serge Aurier. I believe he is capable of making this position his own next year. Marquinhos is also capable of filling the position. However, the problem is Gregory Van der Wiel, who after a poor season has been reportedly linked with a series of moves away from the capital club. In the event that PSG sells, they should seek a suitable replacement as Maquinhos has other commitments at CB. Matteo Darmian would have been an excellent replacement but reports are he is on his way to Manchester United already. Youssouf Sabaly has just returned from a decent loan spell at Evian and could be a suitable option to replace Van der Wiel but it seems highly unlikely that Blanc will give him many minutes with the first team.
Left Back: Maxwell is first choice in this position at the moment after just signing a contract extension to keep him until the end of the 2015-16 season. Assuming Maxwell keeps his performance levels up, we’re in safe hands next year. However, due to Lucas Digne’s failure to impress, the Frenchman could be on his way out of Paris. Filipe Luis and Ricardo Rodriguez will be suitable replacements.
Midfield: Blanc will probably look to keep his trusted midfield trio of Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta, and Blaise Matuidi for most Champions league matches. However, as a result of Matuidi and Verratti’s styles, they are prone to get yellow cards, and with the Champions League rule of a suspension after three yellows, PSG always risk losing at least one of the three due to suspension and lets not forget Motta is prone to injuries. With Cabaye set to leave after several below par performances and Motta needing a long term replacement with his future hanging in the balance, PSG should strengthen this position and William Carvalho would be an excellent addition. Rabiot looked to progress as the season went on but with the problems he and his mother are causing, PSG may look to Georginio Wijnaldum as a replacement/competition to keep Rabiot on his toes.
Attack: Laurent Blanc is in search of a left winger and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic unlikely to leave PSG this year, the ideal signing would be Antoine Griezmann. He’d fit perfectly into Blanc’s front three, taking over Edinson Cavani’s role as the goalscoring winger—a role Cavani struggled to excel in. But knowing PSG all too well, they’d never reduce Cavani to a substitute role. Angel Di Maria is a better option than Lucas Moura—who despite an impressive run of form last season is still considered the most dispensable player in PSG’s attack. Di Maria would easily step into Lucas’ role as the more creative winger and allow Blanc to keep both Cavani and Ibrahimovic in the starting XI while improving it at the same time. However, there’s a great chance PSG don’t sign either. Paul-Georges Ntep, a very exciting talent, would be a good signing as he’s be the perfect replacement for Ezequiel Lavezzi in the substitute role. PSG might also look to add a third striker depending on how much they value Bahebeck.
With Blanc still having to find a spot for a resurgent Javier Pastore in his first team, next season should be an interesting one depending on how well we go about this window strengthening an already solid squad.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @Pregbaha