Paris Saint-Germain are expected to blow away the rest of the footballing world by capturing the signature of Neymar from Barcelona.
The Brazil international was dismissed from training today after revealing that he wanted to leave to his national team-mates. He has been given permission from Ernesto Valverde to sort out his future once and for all.
The sums of money spoken about are getting into the realms of budgets for small nations, and there’s one small nation that is determined to send a message to the rest of football.
Ever since they arrived in November 2011, Qatar Sports Investments, in effect a wing of the Qatari Government, have had one objective in mind: take PSG to the top of world football, no matter what.
This signing is merely a refocusing of the project on its ultimate goal, a message to the rest of the continent and the first of what may well be many similar moves.
A project in need of rejuvenation
For a few years now, their project has been drifting somewhat. They have been dominant domestically, winning more or less every trophy that is available in French football, but they haven’t been able to achieve better than the quarter-finals stage of the Champions League, something that has happened in four successive seasons.
Laurent Blanc was sacked at the end of the 2015/16 season, even if he did win every single trophy that was available (bar the French Cup back in 2014), because they weren’t making progress in Europe.
His replacement, Unai Emery, failed to improve things. His PSG side lost the domestic title to Monaco, and got knocked out in the last-16 of the Champions League, enduring a humiliating night at the Nou Camp.
Emery is staying on, but make no mistake, what happened last season was a humiliation and the Qataris want to ensure that it never happens again.
Signing a player like Neymar is a statement of intent, showing the rest of football that PSG are ready to be the next big ‘Galactico’ club. That they can pay his wages will interest several other stars, as will the fact they can attract a player who is most likely going to be the best player in the world in the near future.
It’s not so much about how many goals he can bring to the team, or assists he can make, or even how many shirts he can sell. It’s about the club’s reputation, the Qataris’ reputation on the world stage, and the project’s reputation. PSG want to be at the top table, so don’t expect Neymar will be the end of their Summer spending.
More moves to come?
There have been rumours around France for quite a while now that they are interested in signing wonderkid Kylian Mbappé from Monaco, with Emery even saying Mbappé is a player he admires.
Selling to a direct rival is not something that Monaco particularly want to do, hence why the player (and also Fabinho, who PSG have tried to sign as well) have not moved to the capital. The player though is from Paris, will be the next big star of French football, and will surely secure a starting place at PSG (whereas he might not at one of the Spanish giants).
Of course, PSG have to adhere to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play and are already sailing close to the wind with the signing of Neymar. Buying Mbappé too might be a stretch, but if there is a will, there probably is a way for the Parisian club.
Getting rid of several players is already a certainty since it is an ageing squad, and in some cases
However, if a move for Mbappé doesn’t come to fruition, then moves for players like Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho or even Sergio Aguero might be in the works. Make no mistake, PSG are looking to make up for last season’s failures in dramatic fashion.
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