In a recent tell-all with the Gazzetta Sport, Paris Saint-Germain’s Thiago Motta admitted that he’s seeking a new challenge.
Coming off an unprecedented domestic quadruple, Motta has compared his current situation to Inter Milan’s treble-winning year in 2010. Despite having a year left on his current contract, now might be the time for the Brazilian to move on—and he hasn’t ruled out a return to Milan, where he would seek to revive his old club’s fortunes under new manager Roberto Mancini.
Motta has already spoken to PSG manager Laurent Blanc, who is undoubtedly keen on keeping the thirty-two-year-old at the Parc des Princes. With his ability to read the game and keep possession, Motta is arguably the linchpin of the three-man midfield and key to the stability of team. Combined with Italian compatriot Marco Verratti, Motta helps to make sure PSG win the ball and never lose possession. He’s the Sergio Busquets of Paris, a resemblance fully encouraged by Blanc, who spent time in Barcelona as a player and often models his team on their system.
Motta’s given a lot to us in his time here, and though not in his finest form last year, he’s still a quality player – and at 32 years old, he hasn’t got too long left to play at the highest level. Now that he’s gone public with these wishes, we might be wise to respect them, lest we end up with an unsettled player in a key position. We’d miss him, surely, but Motta – a veteran of Barcelona and Inter – does have a nomadic history. After nearly four years, it’s no surprise that his wanderlust is kicking back in.
If Motta does leave, the question of who replaces him remains. David Luiz is an extremely capable defensive midfielder, but not in the same anchor-man vein as Motta; Verratti would likely slot in well, but PSG would miss his qualities higher up the pitch. Yohan Cabaye is gone and while Adrien Rabiot is talented, I don’t think he has the positional discipline yet. This may mean a change of formation: a 4-3-1-2, perhaps, with three central midfielders and Javier Pastore playing behind two strikers. Paris played that formation against Barcelona in the 3-2 win and Lucas ran riot as a striker even with Edinson Cavani firing blanks. The issue there is that Zlatan Ibrahimovic prefers to play alone up front, rather than with a strike partner or attacking midfielder.
With the potential arrival of Angel Di Maria from Manchester United looming, Blanc may also choose to adopt a 4-2-3-1, which PSG fielded in their recent friendly against Wiener Sport-Club. Though a more significant change than the 4-3-2-1 would be, Parisian journalist Jonathan Johnson theorizes that Blanc will be looking to utilize all his attacking talent. Given Pastore’s undroppable form, this formation would be ideal—a dedicated winger on the left in Di Maria, Lucas doing the same on the right, Cavani played in his natural position (rotated with Ibrahimovic, presumably), and Pastore in the hole. This would also leave Verratti and Matuidi in very similar roles to what they play now, leaving us with a logical midfield rotation with Rabiot and whichever other midfield arrivals we’d bring in. It seems like the most logical system, particularly if our injury problems are anything like last year.
Have your own thoughts on what we should play? Leave us a comment below or tell us at @PSGTalk.
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