Strength in Depth: PSG Position-By-Position Analysis

It’s been an exhilarating few weeks for Paris Saint-Germain supporters. Wins over Lyon in the Trophée des Champions and Lille in the Ligue 1 opener have many predicting a special year for the capital club.

Off the field, PSG have been just as successful. They unveiled Angel Di Maria from Manchester United last Thursday and earlier in the summer they brought in Kevin Trapp and Benjamin Stambouli. Squad depth has been focal point this summer for Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and the club has done well to address key areas.

With a couple of weeks left to go in the transfer window, let’s take a look at how the team looks position-by-position:


Goalkeeper:

First Choice: Kevin Trapp

Backup: Salvatore Sirigu, Nicolas Douchez

Analysis: Paris Saint-Germain have done good business this season bringing in the highly rated German goalkeeper and now have three quality goalkeepers at their disposal. Trapp, despite lacking Champions league experience, has shown potential to be a better option than Sirigu with some solid performances so far. His place in the starting XI against Lille shows who manager Laurent Blanc prefers at the moment.

Sirigu has performed well enough in previous seasons but just isn’t at the level PSG need. Competition in this area would certainly push both he and Trapp to reach their limits in the coming season.

Conclusion: It is yet to be confirmed if either Douchez or Sirigu will leave before the end of the transfer window but PSG will surely be in safe hands this season no matter who departs this summer.


Right Back:

First Choice: Serge Aurier

Backup: Gregory Van der Wiel, Yousouff Sabaly

Analysis: Aurier has stepped up and made the position his, putting in some top class performances so far, and competition from Van der Wiel will benefit both players. Van der Wiel—whose contract expires after this season—has expressed his desire to remain at the club and has put in some improved performances in preseason.

Sabaly has also performed well in preseason but looks set to be going on another loan spell.

Conclusion: With Van der Wiel claiming the club is trying to push him out, there might still be some movement in this area before the end of the transfer window and Sabaly departing may depend on how the Van der Wiel situation pans out. Marquinhos could also provide cover at right back.


Left Back:

First Choice: Maxwell

Backup: Lucas Digne

Analysis: Maxwell looks set to continue his excellent form heading into what will probably be his final year at the club. But Lucas Digne looks to be on the brink of a move away from the club leaving the club short of options here.

Conclusion: PSG will need an excellent replacement who can cover in case of an injury as well as offer Blanc something different tactically if needed.

Maxwell-Paris-Saint-Germain-vs-Lille


Center Back:

First Choice: Thiago Silva, David Luiz

Backup: Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe

Analysis: PSG already have some of the best defenders in the world in Thiago Silva, David Luiz, and Marquinhos, among the ranks but question marks were raised over the fourth choice defender following Zoumana Camara’s retirement and it looks like Kimpembe has been trusted with that role.

Conclusion: Kimpembe—who just turned pro last season—has put in some solid performances in preseason and has shown he can hold his own in defence. He may not yet be ready for Champion’s League football but he can certainly hold his own in the league and cup matches. Stambouli and Aurier can also provide some cover here.


Holding Midfield:

First Choice: Thiago Motta

Backup: Benjamin Stambouli

Analysis: There might still be some movement in this area despite Nasser El-Khellaifi insinuating that Thiago Motta—who recently stated his desire to leave—will be staying at Angel Di Maria’s unveiling.

Stambouli, who was brought in as Yohan Cabaye’s replacement, has put in some motivated performances so far and has shown he can hold his own at the heart of the Parisian midfield when called upon.

Conclusion: I think Motta, despite some lackluster performances last year, still has a key role to play for PSG this season. There are few players as good as Motta and if he does leave it will be interesting to see how the club replaces him. Blanc could also use Marco Verratti, Adrien Rabiot, or Luiz in this position.


Central Midfielder:

First Choice: Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi

Backup: Adrien Rabiot, Javier Pastore

Analysis: Paris have some quality in this position and there’s going to be a lot of competition to get into the squad, especially with Blanc having to find playing time for Pastore and Rabiot.

Conclusion: I still think Paris might need a more experienced midfielder in this position especially for the Champions League as I don’t fully trust the 20 year old Rabiot, who despite possessing good technical skill his immaturity on and off the pitch still plagues him, which was evident when he found himself sent off in less than 30 minutes in the opener against Lille.


Forward:

First Choice: Angel Di Maria, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani

Back up: Jean-Kévin Augustin, Lucas Moura, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Hervin Ongenda

Analysis: The signing of Di Maria has further bolstered Blanc’s attacking options and competition will be fierce. In Di Maria, Ibrahimovic, and Cavani, Blanc arguably has the best attacking threesome in Europe outside of Barcelona and having the likes of Lucas and Lavezzi off the bench could win PSG a lot of matches as their speed late in games could be the key to unlocking difficult defenses.

Conclusion: Augustin, who just signed a pro contract, is the only backup out and out striker and Blanc has shown some faith in him so far, giving him minutes in preseason and the last couple of games. We can only hope Blanc continues to give the exciting youngster a fair opportunity to impress. Ongenda will very much likely follow Bahebeck out on loan before the end of transfer window.

Angel-Di-Maria-training

Posted by Daniel

Daniel is PSG Talk's Nigerian correspondent and has been following Paris Saint-Germain since 2012. He feels the club is back on track with original QSI-project after taking a brief detour and is interested in seeing how it all plays out.

  1. […] Squad depth was a huge concern coming into the offseason and the club made quality signings in the summer to address the issues that ultimately doomed PSG in the Champions League last year. Blanc wants to rotate his squad for league and cup matches and rightfully so but performances like this from the “B squad” will force his hand to play more starters in games where they should be resting. […]

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