August 1, 2021

“PSG are playing their game in the rubble of the football economy”

“Any crisis is an opportunity to be seized. “This maxim in vogue in the management and personal development departments, PSG seems to want to push it to its climax: a very serious crisis – one that affects European professional football – very great opportunities. At least that’s what its already spectacular transfer window suggests.

The arrivals of Dutchman Georginio Wijnaldum, Spaniard Sergio Ramos, Moroccan Achraf Hakimi and Italian Gianluigi Donnarumma are all resounding operations as the transfer market is expected to confirm its slowdown this summer, and where even clubs the richest are weakened. Like FC Barcelona, ​​forced to downsize its workforce to simply keep Lionel Messi.

To the obligation to sell first, which is imposed on most clubs, Paris preferred the possibility of buying (even if three of the recruits were at the end of their contract, their salaries will weigh heavily). We could see a headlong flight: after losses of nearly 230 million euros last season, those for the coming year are budgeted between 250 and 300 million, according to The team.

In comparison, the PSG hopes sales for 180 million euros. However, the sporting director Leonardo shines more in acquisitions than in disposals: for the time being, only the Dutchman Mitchel Bakker has found a buyer (Leverkusen, 7 million).

The policy of great leaps forward

This way of playing it all in the rubble of the football economy is a bit like the summer of Ligue 1: the arrival of highly coveted hopes and coaches with ideas makes it very exciting a season under threat of economic collapse. The bet of the PSG is however reasoned.

It mainly risks alienating its great European rivals a little more. But, on this political level, the legitimist position of its president during the crisis of the Super League earned him the good graces of UEFA. Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, who has been on its executive committee since 2019, also took over the presidency of the European Association of Clubs in April.

Above all, the relaxation of financial fair play, granted by the European confederation because of the crisis, opens up a good window of opportunity for it to take advantage of the lavishness of its Qatari owner and repeat the coup de force of 2017 with the transfers of Kylian Mbappé and Neymar Jr. Since 2012, QSI prefers big leaps forward to the policy of small steps.

The club knows, however, that considerable resources are not a guarantee of success. If his investments have allowed him in ten years to promote his brand and anchor himself in the elite of the continent, they have not yet brought him the Champions League. He therefore also needs football intelligence.

The sporting and accounting results of this summer market will certainly depend on the future of Kylian Mbappé – to whom it is a question of demonstrating the Parisian ambitions -, but the arrivals of Wijnaldum and Hakimi already indicate that the leaders are tackling the glaring shortcomings of the workforce.

The quest for sports leadership

On the other hand, the signing of Sergio Ramos still seems to stem from this “casting policy” which did not do that good, even if we can also credit the Spaniard with this “experience” and this maturity which were lacking in Parisians in the last European square.

Regarding human management, if the acquisition of Donnarumma is a great operation due to the absence of transfer compensation, the goalkeeper being free, it constitutes a slap in the face for Keylor Navas, who was irreproachable last season. Did he need an inevitably confrontational situation in this sensitive post?

This kind of problem (of the rich) refers to the basic problem, that of the governance of the club, which still lacks a firm sporting direction, both literally and figuratively, to bring the egos in line and place them at the service of a coherent game plan under the unchallenged authority of the coach.

Recent experience reminds us that its technicians have never been placed in such conditions, Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel even ending up giving up implementing their ideas. Will the very Florentine Leonardo give Mauricio Pochettino more leeway?

In this 2021 offseason, “the opportunity” that PSG must seize is not so much that of spending without counting as that of raising its sports policy to the level of its economic policy. This shows the need to invest in the game as much as in the players.