Coral in focus: What is needed for PSG to conquer Europe at last?
When PSG’s new owners bought the club, one target was surely to win the Champions League. A flurry of superstar signings joined when Qatari Sports Investment took over in 2011, buying a 70 per cent stake, and the domestic impact was instant.
After a period of transition, they lifted the Ligue 1 title in the 2012/13 season, then retained it the following campaign, though the Champions League still eludes them.
At 12/1 to triumph this term, they are fifth favourites, behind last season’s winners Real Madrid, German heavyweights Bayern Munich, Spanish flair specialists Barcelona, and a Jose Mourinho-inspired Chelsea.
With their current crop of players, it seems PSG have the right blend with the requisite experience, youth and quality, perhaps with the exception of a slight attacking reshuffle. Although they couldn’t better a draw in Amsterdam against Ajax, they recorded a stunning 3-2 win over European giants Barca, without talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic and captain Thiago Silva. New signing David Luiz got on the scoresheet.
It had been suggested that the fee paid for the Brazil centre back, believed to be between £40m-£50m, was over-inflated, following a disappointing World Cup campaign. Following the result, there was the widespread belief that European football was potentially enduring a continental power shift, especially with the Catalan club hit with a transfer embargo for the next two transfer windows.
However, as Chelsea will testify, going from domestic domination to a continental crown is harder than it looks. From when Roman Abramovich bought the west London outfit, it took the Blues nine years to add the Champions League to their repertoire, and they were underdogs, without, as Roberto Di Matteo would testify, a big name as manager.
Edinson Cavani has been linked with a move away, due to manager Laurent Blanc not playing him in a central striker berth. The Uruguayan has hit four in 12 matches across all competitions for the club this term; though, to appease him, the suggestion could be that Ibrahimovic needs to move on and he is given the opportunity to take the club to the next level.
They may well be where Chelsea were five years ago, when Abramovich decided to cull expensive transfers for a while to focus on youth development and also trying to balance the books. It is understandable to suggest that Mourinho may well win another another Champions League this term, due to having got the equilibrium of the squad as close to right as it has been since he was last in charge.
Diego Costa, who Cavani has every chance of emulating, has been brought in and has excelled, though there is the understanding that he is the main striker, with a flurry of attacking talent surrounding him. That model maybe apt for Blanc to copy.
With the likes of Lucas Moura, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore, and Yohan Cabaye, they certainly have the calibre of personnel, though to take the team to the next level, they like Chelsea perhaps need a scalable strategy.