Paris Saint-Germain have been dominating the football headlines in France ever since Qatar Sports Investment became the majority shareholders in May, with the capture of Javier Pastore, the back pages worldwide await. New Head of the Board Nasser Al-Khelaifi outlined his intentions in the transfer market by claiming: “We
Having been knocked back in their attempts to sign Ganso, PSG set their sights on Palermo’s Argentine maestro and managed to see off Chelsea in securing his services in an astonishing €43m deal. Although not exactly the natural heir to Messi, Pastore is more stylistically similar to Kaka, he is QSI’s first marquee signing and should play a significant role in the five-year plan set out by the new owners. “Paris Saint-Germain has an enormous potential – they are the only big football club in a city of 12 million inhabitants! That’s unique in Europe. Our aim is to qualify for the Champions League every year as of 2012. Then, from 2015, we want to play a major role in the French championship.”
Former Milan and Inter coach Leonardo has been brought in to work alongside current manager Antoine Kombouare as the club’s sporting director, controlling all the club’s sporting activities, including recruitment. He has been busy turning over a squad that finished fourth in Ligue 1 last season, also losing to league champions Lille in the Coupe De France cup final. Veterans Claude Makelele, Gregory Coupet and Ludovic Giuly were released to make way for the nine new signings that have arrived thus far.
Palermo’s Salvatore Sirigu and Rennes stopper Nicolas Douchez were brought in to compete with the highly regarded Alphonse Areola for the role of Coupet’s replacement in goal. St Etienne’s Blaise Matudi arrived for a fee in the region of €7.5m as a direct replacement for the retiring Makelele, with the midfield beefed up further by former Liverpool midfielder Momo Sissoko, arriving for a similar fee from Juventus. 24 goals in 41 appearances for Lorient last term earned Kevin Gameiro both international recognition and a €11m transfer to the capital, where he joins the talented playmaker Jeremy Menez, a €9m signing from Roma. Centre back Milan Bisevac was also acquired from Valenciennes to shore up the defence.
They join a squad that already includes young centre back and captain Mamadou Sakho, one of French football’s brightest talents, the giant Guillaume Hoarau up front and Brazilian Nene, who netted 14 goals and contributed a further 9 assists last year. A big name striker is likely to be next on the shopping list, with the likes of Mauro Zarate, Diego Forlan and Dimitar Berbatov all strongly linked, although QPR appear to have pulled the plug on any move for Adel Taarabt.
Paris Saint-Germain find themselves in the same position as Malaga and Manchester City, extravagantly financed by Middle-Eastern backers who expect an immediate return on their investment. If this manager and group of players are not up to the task then they will rip it up and start again, a pattern that will continue until they get where they want to be or lose interest. A first league title since 1994 seems inevitable.