Nasser Al-Khelaifi in his post season interview stressed that the targets that were set prior to his takeover of Paris Saint Germain (PSG) were not met at the end of 2015-16 season.The Qatari businessman has poured huge sums of money not only into the senior team but also in the youth set-up of PSG with a view to emulate Barcelona, a model being followed at Manchester City. It was only few months ago in February that PSG board had decided to extend the contract of then coach Laurent Blanc following his trophy laden exploits in the past three seasons. It was believed that Manchester City would be conquered given their struggles in the domestic league which were in stark contrast to the situation at Parc des Princes.
The presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel Di Maria and Co was felt to be enough for the Parisians to proceed to Semi finals. What unfolded at Etihad stadium in the second leg of the Champions League tie effectively sealed Blanc’s fate in the eyes of Nasser al Khelaifi. The old adage of Futures in Football being fickle proved true and Blanc was the latest casualty.The failure may be attributed to Blanc’s tactical decisions, switching to a 3-5-2 formation which they had never played caused confusion among the players and sent them out of the Club European Championship.On the other hand, Unai Emery had created history with Sevilla at St Jakob Park.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi guide alone PSG to Champions League Glory?
Having seen his star players depart year after year, he had managed to give them the opportunity to compete in the Champions League, a necessity for keeping their cash flow going. An year earlier, he had resisted the temptation of switching to San Siro and becoming the new boss of AC Milan, a decision one may think that did more good to him than Sevilla. However, after completing a historic troika of Europa League wins, he wasn’t going to stay and be a bystander of the annual summer sale again. When PSG came calling, he sealed a move that made sense to both the parties.For PSG,they seemed to finally get a man who had proven his pedigree at the Continental stage with arguably inferior resources whereas for Emery, PSG represented a welcome change from the surroundings at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. No more letting go of star players and no more inferior budgets.The thought was all good but the summer outlay by the Paris based clubs has raised a few questions over their ambitions to win the coveted Champions League trophy they so badly crave.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the first arrival at PSg and a statement that went a long way in luring other stars into believing and joining the Parisian project.On the field, he was their main man too. Thiago Silva wore the armband but everybody knew who the leader was.Season after season, the big Swede scored goals and his spectacular success was able to paper over the cracks that were visible in the PSG attack.Edinson Cavani was brought from Udinese with an intent to gradually take place of Ibrahimovic once he decided to move on. And he didn’t come cheap. The performances over the three years have caused divisions among fans and experts alike.
While his stats may look pretty, Cavani was unable to deliver at big stage for Blanc. It’s not that he didn’t create chances, but the chances he missed that were most talked about among the supporters in Paris. It seemed imminent that he would be sold to cut losses by the decision makers in Paris. He is set to extend his stay in the French capital,albeit it may be for one more season. But the pursuit of Ibrahimovic’s replacement has been far from active. The new sporting director, Patrick Kluivert, a surprise choice, hasn’t addressed the attacking options for Emery.With only Cavani as their main goalscoring threat, PSG would struggle to maintain not their domestic dominance but navigating through the tough matches that may come their way in Champions League. Only Grzegorz Krychowiak and Hatem Ben Arfa have the two notable arrivals and none can match upto the charisma that Ibra had. Any importance of replacing a smart player with another one can be seen at AC Milan. Having sold Kaka to Real Madrid, the
Any importance of replacing a smart player with another one can be seen at AC Milan. Having sold Kaka to Real Madrid, the Rossoneri brought Ibrahimovic to San Siro and managed to win Serie A. When the big Swede left, they decided to “Build” a team. The result? Consistent seventh place finish.While PSG will not face the same fate, the signs are ominous for the men in charge. In the defense, Silva and Co need some refreshment. Another top class addition will only serve better.With Silva at the wrong end of thirty and David Luiz still error-prone, Emery could well use some help to strengthen the rearguard.
The signing of Emery was a clear indication of where the priorities lie of al Khelaifi this season.However, he needs to do much more than sign a top class manager.