PSG is France’s most successful club and currently has the most exciting lineup of players in the world of football. With Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappé they have some of the world’s finest players at their disposal.
With this incredible set of players, it is no surprise that bookmakers like Bovada put them in the run to win the Champions League every season. Yet, their record at a European level leaves something to be desired, so what could be done to fix this?
A Look at PSG’s European Record
It’s surprising to see that the last European trophy collected by PSG was the Intertoto Cup, which they won in 2001 by beating the Italians of Brescia on away goals. Before that, the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup came to Paris in 1995-96, with a runners-up spot claimed the following season.
Most people have expected to see PSG add to this modest European trophy haul in the last few seasons, as the star-studded line-up has looked easily capable of beating any team in Europe. Yet, the closest they’ve come to doing this came in the 2019-20 season, when they finished as runners-up in the Champions League.
PSG had strolled to the finals relatively comfortably, beating RB Leipzig 3-0 in the semi-final. However, the final saw them face up to a formidable Bayern Munich side that had beaten Barcelona 8-2 on aggregate, defeated Chelsea by 7-1, and disposed of Lyon 3-0 in the semi-final. The Germans were too strong and won the final in Lisbon by 1-0.
This season saw their European dream end in disappointment again. A 1-0 home victory against Real Madrid raised hopes that this could finally be their year. Yet, a hat-trick by Karim Benzema secured a 3-2 aggregate win for the team from the Spanish capital. Thiago Silva, now at Chelsea, said that it was an “unbelievable elimination” and that it’s not money that wins titles, so what is the missing factor that PSG needs to find?
Possible New Signings?
With such a massively talented squad, it might seem unlikely that more expensive signings would be the solution. Yet, some critics believe that the balance of their team isn’t quite right and that adding fresh faces could help the team to find the winning formula in European competition.
One name linked with a move to PSG in recent times is scoring phenomenon, Robert Lewandowski. The Polish forward has an incredible scoring record with over 600 career goals to date. It’s thought that the 33-year-old would be a replacement for Kylian Mbappé, who is widely expected to join Real Madrid when his contract runs out this summer.
Would replacing Mbappé with Lewandowski make PSG more formidable in Europe? While direct comparisons between the two forwards are difficult, it’s interesting to note that Lewandowski was behind only Messi in this season’s Ballon d’Or, so he would certainly add a huge attacking threat with his clinical finishing ability.
Juventus forward Paulo Dybala is another player whose contract runs out this summer and who has been linked with PSG. However, he has also been linked to a string of top clubs like Arsenal, Inter Milan, and Manchester United.
Emmanuel Petit suggested that the club should try to keep Mbappé as their main player and re-build the team around him, although at the time of writing this looks unlikely to happen. Other analysts have claimed that the PSG attack isn’t hard-working enough and would benefit from the addition of more energy off the ball.
Messi’s transfer to Paris arguably hasn’t gone to plan, although this could be due to the huge weight of expectations on the Argentine’s shoulders. Could PSG get better value for money by cutting his deal short and looking for a younger, hungrier player to lead their attack?
Do They Need More Domestic Competition?
One issue that some analysts believe could be holding PSG back is its domestic dominance. Yet, it should be remembered that Lille took the title away from them in 2020-21, after three successive triumphs for PSG. Normal service has been resumed this season, though, with PSG comfortably ahead of Marseille and Rennes in the table.
Does a lack of competitive games in the French league mean that the team struggles to raise their game for the big occasions in Europe? This seems to be a valid concern, as teams from England, Spain, and Italy all arguably face more difficult opponents every week and can therefore remain sharper for the Champions League challenge.
Naturally, there is little that PSG can do about this. However, their fans should perhaps be hoping to see some more quality added to the rest of the league, as this could ultimately help them. The dreams of a European Super League format being introduced could provide a long-term solution, but for the moment this plan is mired in problems and with no obvious way forward.
The challenge of enhancing an already massively expensive and star-studded squad awaits PSG this summer. If they’re smart about it, there’s every chance that they finally manage to claim European silverware next season.