PSG: Thomas Tuchel admits that he needs more players ahead of new season
RealSport’s Rahul Warrier attended Thomas Tuchel’s pre-Atletico Madrid press conference and got the low down on transfers, centre backs, and Adrien Rabiot.
Thomas Tuchel has made just the one signing so far this summer, in the form of Gianluigi Buffon. If you exclude Kylian Mbappe’s loan that was made permanent, it is scant business for a club that desires to be pushing for the Champions League.
The Italian provides a dressing room presence and experience that is rare and in that sense, his signing made plenty of sense. But it adds to a position where PSG are relatively secure, goalkeeper, where they have Alphonse Areola and Kevin Trapp. Their concerns in depth lie elsewhere, particularly in defense.
PSG sanctioned the sales of Yuri Berchiche, one of two left-backs in the squad, while also selling midfielders Grzegorz Krychowiak, who flattered to deceive, and Javier Pastore.
Thiago Motta’s retirement is impactful but is lessened by the presence of Buffon. There is also Hatem Ben Arfa, released after little to no gametime under Emery, and bright star Goncalo Guedes, who looks set to return to Valencia. On the face of it, PSG have plenty of work to do in this market.
“We have to get guys to fulfill the squad and lift the level”
Tuchel was questioned on his squad and any possible transfers, given the numerous departures from last year’s imbalanced squad. “We lost Motta, a big presence in the squad, and sold Berchiche as he wanted to play more. We have to get guys to fulfill the squad and lift the level. We are working on that, but are focusing on what we have and pushing them to be the best they can,” said Tuchel.
That is encouraging, for past the star XI lies a threadbare cupboard in certain positions, more or less. Kurzawa is the only left-back, suggesting that a left-back signing is possible, even if it isn’t Alex Sandro.
Timothy Weah might be the back-up to Edinson Cavani. And there is plenty of versatility to go around in Ligue 1, where they might get away with lesser depth. It is in the Champions League where it may bite them, especially at centre back.
They have Marquinhos, captain Thiago Silva, and World Cup winner Presnel Kimpembe, while Lassana Diarra can cover there. Jerome Boateng has been a rumoured signing.
“If we play with three at the back, we need more centre backs”
“We have three centre backs at the top level. But we have to be prepared. If we play with three at the back, we need more centre backs. We could talk for hours about what centre back I would like. I am not a coach who demands players but will see what makes sense. I am a bit concerned for the defense, but everything is possible and I am prepared for anything.”
There has also been plenty of speculation on Adrien Rabiot’s future at the club, with the talented midfielder’s contract expiring in 2019. This comes amidst Barcelona’s interest in the Frenchman.
Tuchel professed admiration for his abilities but concedes that his future is down to the player. “I am certain that Adrien can bring a lot to this club – his club. His talent and potential is obvious, and I feel he has next levels to reach,” said Tuchel.
“It is important to have these players from the academy. It is up to him to make a commitment but my opinion is clear and he knows.”
The PSG manager’s comments suggest that there is business yet to come in the window, even as PSG try to work around Financial Fair Play. They have a month to go, and it must be remembered that unlike England, France’s window will end at the end of August. Knowing Tuchel’s detail-orientation and the resources at his disposal, there should be new arrivals to bolster the squad before the window closes.
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