With 2020 officially here, most people are thinking about what their New Year’s resolutions will be. Popular resolutions include losing weight, drinking less alcohol, reading more books, and using social media less.
For Paris Saint-Germain, I think they would benefit from setting a few completely different resolutions for the year ahead.
The Round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League begins on February 18 for Paris Saint-Germain as they travel to Germany to take on Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of their tie. PSG is the favorite and should advance but after that, they will likely come up against the biggest clubs in Europe.
I want to see manager Thomas Tuchel instill a fighting spirit within the squad so that they can battle back from adversity and not collapse under the pressure as we’ve seen in previous years.
My ideal scenario would be a come-from-behind win over FC Barcelona to advance to the finals of the tournament.
One of the major storylines of the first half of the season was the number of injuries sustained by PSG players. Neymar Jr., Kylian Mbappé, Edinson Cavani, Julian Draxler, and many others spent time in the training room due to various injuries.
Whether it’s bad luck or the failure of the training staff, something isn’t right. Players should not be going down with injuries at this frequency and you don’t really see it happening at other top clubs.
With a busy fixture list ahead, Tuchel cannot afford major injuries to his top players, especially Neymar and Mbappé. The extended holiday break should have helped players recuperate from nagging muscle injuries but it’s up to the training staff to be at the top of their game to keep them healthy and performing at the highest level possible.
Is this possible at Hollywood FC? Several players are coming up at the end of their contracts (Edinson Cavani, Thiago Silva, and Thomas Meunier to name a few) and sporting director Leonardo has some difficult decisions to make. I only hope his resolution is to make those decisions concisely.
You can’t mention drama without evoking Neymar’s name. The Brazilian caused quite a stir last summer by trying to force a transfer back to Barcelona. Whatever he decides to do this summer, I hope he’s honest and realistic with Leonardo and club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi so that a solution that benefits both parties can be found.
Mbappé is another player who could be on the move with Real Madrid seeking his signature. To avoid drama, it would be ideal if Mbappé would sign an extension before the summer transfer window opens to signal his intent to stay in Paris. If not, he needs to be clear with Leonardo and Al-Khelaifi about what he wants, like Neymar, so that a deal can be worked out.
Obviously, I would prefer to keep Mbappé and Neymar but if it’s not meant to be, let’s try to at least avoid the circus.
I’m sure the club has more surprises planned and I hope that they include players from the pre-Qatar Sports Investments era. Many new fans may not be familiar with the names of Pauleta, Raí, and Safet Sušić, but they helped build the foundation of the club. It’s important to honor them and their accomplishments in a memorable way.
Believe in the Youth Movement
Over the past few seasons, PSG has sold many of its promising youth players. A few still remain with more coming up through the ranks but it would be refreshing to see some breakthrough the first team.
Tanguy Kouassi recently did that but if reports are to be believed, he’s expected to sign a professional contract with RB Leipzig over PSG. Adil Aouchiche is another talented youngster in the PSG ranks but he has yet to sign a professional contract with PSG either and now Barcelona is sniffing around trying to scoop him up.
Both Kouassi and Aouchiche have the potential to play meaningful minutes for PSG this season and for years to come. It’s just a matter of convincing them that the wait will be worth it.
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