On the morning of August 23, 2020, Paris Saint-Germain were on the verge of their first UEFA Champions League final, and supporters were more optimistic about the future of their club than ever before.
Since the 1-0 loss to FC Bayern Munich in the final, PSG has spiraled downward with two straight losses to open the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season. There was the 1-0 loss to RC Lens on the road and then the ugly 1-0 loss to Olympique de Marseille at the Parc des Princes, the first time since 2011 that PSG lost to their rivals and an unlikely outcome for those betting with Sportsbook Bonus.
To make matters worse, Juan Bernat, PSG’s best left-back, suffered a serious knee injury in the 1-0 win over FC Metz and Neymar Jr. will be suspended for two matches for his role in the melee against Marseille. Then there was the report that Kylian Mbappé has told PSG that he intends to leave the club after the season.
There’s a permanent dark cloud hovering over the club and other than the signing of Alessandro Florenzi, there have been very few reasons for PSG fans to be hopeful about the upcoming season.
It’s difficult to assign blame for the current state of the club but Thomas Tuchel is an easy scapegoat. His defenders point to the fact that he was at the helm when PSG reached the Champions League final but he also led Les Parisiens in that embarrassing loss to Manchester United in the Round of 16 of the 2018-19 Champions League.
Leonardo, PSG’s sporting director, didn’t hire Tuchel and the two haven’t always seen eye-to-eye. The assumption is Leonardo would like to bring in his own manager but it’s difficult to do that when Tuchel just reached the Champions League final. Perhaps a slow start to the season could end his tenure in the French capital.
Tuchel shouldn’t bear all of the blame though. I mentioned the signing of Florenzi but Leonardo has a lot more work to do and it just got even more difficult with the loss of Bernat for an extended period of time.
Ask any supporter and they’ll tell you that in addition to a left-back to cover for Bernat, PSG needs to sign a midfielder, backup striker, and center-back. As of now, there’s a lot of transfer noise but nothing very credible. While clubs like Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC bolster their lineup, PSG’s lineup is full of holes and it’s difficult to imagine them not struggling in Ligue 1 this season much less returning to the Champions League final.
Reaching the pinnacle of club football should have lit a fire under Tuchel and Leonardo to bring in key players to push PSG over the top the next season but instead, things appear to be on standby, and in the meantime, the squad is suffering embarrassing losses and letting their rivals celebrate on their home pitch.
There’s still time to bring in new players, and a new coach if that’s what’s necessary, so it’s not all doom and gloom. However, if things don’t change soon, not only will this season be difficult but Mbappé and Neymar will likely leave after the season.
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