After another Champions League heart-break what must Mauricio Pochetino do to fulfill the PSG project?
Another season, another Champions League knockout match, another heartbreak. This is becoming something of a norm for PSG. After reaching the final last time things were supposed to be different this time. They were supposed to go a step further and lift the trophy. But they have allowed the old demons to resurface.It was clear to see that Pochettino did not have a plan B after Mbappe got injured, and would be looking ahead to the transfer window to substantially improve this PSG side going forward.
FULL-TIME: Man City 2-0 @PSG_English
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) May 4, 2021
Tuesday night’s semi-final defeat to Manchester City lay their shortcomings bare. Despite dominating the game for prolonged sessions they were unable to seal it. With time even that dominance started to fade and they just submitted to their opponents tamely. City tightened their grip and scored once more to make it 2-0 on the night and 4-1 aggregate. Pep Guardiola’s side who are in the semis for the first time showed much more character than the Parisians.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side are in serious danger of losing out on Ligue-1 as well if they don’t recover from this loss.
MISSING IN ACTION
The side looked lost in attack without the talisman Kylian Mbappe, who was out injured. Neymar for all his fancy tricks and flicks was not able to produce anything tangible. Mauro Icardi who came in for the injured Mbappe was as good as an invisible man. The lack of defensive depth means teenagers like Diallo and Bakker are starting make or break games.
It is understandable that Mauricio Pochetino arrived mid-season and his PSG project is still raw. But it is simply unacceptable for a club of PSG’s ambitions to be battered so easily.
This defeat may have huge ramifications on the squad. Mbappe who was unavailable yesterday may just leave the club to pursue his European ambitions elsewhere. Neymar has stalled his contract extension and might still leave for Barcelona.
The Argentine manager must act smartly in the transfer market and try to fix his squad. He has to build an attack sustainable enough so that it won’t collapse without a player. The squad has to be a balanced one with quality options all around the pitch.
Transfer plans and strategies might have been drawn already. Players would’ve been short-listed. Poch knows what players he needs. He would have the complete backing of the board and budget to spend. He needs a striker, winger, centre back and a full back
FootTheBall brings you the probable signings Poch might go for once the transfer window opens.
1) LIONEL MESSI – FC BARCELONA
Ever since the legendary Argentine international put a transfer request, PSG were said to be in the queue for him. The mercurial Argentine still has a lot to offer and wanted a change in the scenario as he was fed up at Barcelona.
— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) April 28, 2021
He fits the bill perfectly at PSG. The French side are one of the very few clubs in the world blessed with resources to sign Leo Messi . since no transfer fee would be involved as it’s a free transfer, wage demands of Messi won’t be a problem. The prospect of reuniting with Neymar and working with countrymen Di Maria and Pochettino would excite Messi for sure.
A front three of Messi, Mbappe and Neymar would give nightmares to defenders. Together they can bring the big eared trophy to Paris for the first time.
Alternatives: Liverpool’s Mohammad Salah and Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr are also potential winger options.
2) HARRY KANE – TOTTENHAM
A lethal finisher is required to make the most of half chances as well. Neymar and Mbappe are not pure strikers. They are someone who like time and space on the ball. They thrive on the space and use their pace and skill to get into troubling positions. Hence understandably they lack the predatory instincts in the box.
Harry Kane is the one blessed with all the traits of a world-class striker. He has a devastating finish on both his feet and a pure viper-like predatory instinct inside the penalty box. His physicality also helps to act as a target-man and bring the wingers into play. His passing has also improved a lot over the years.
PSG Mercato: Tottenham Striker Harry Kane Wants to Leave For Trophies; Paris SG Listed As a Possible Destination https://t.co/e3aO98daqy
— PSG Talk 💬 (@PSGTalk) April 11, 2021
Yet to win a single major trophy in his career, he’s growing frustrated in London. He wants to leave Spurs if the right club arrives and allows him to win trophies. Pochettino might consider bringing his ex trainee in the next transfer window to PSG to fulfill their common ambition of lifting major trophies.
Cristiano Ronaldo is also rumored to be courted by PSG to offer his services. Mr.Champions League himself might be needed to end the hoodoo. If Ronaldo moves to PSG in the next transfer window and plays under Pochettino we are sure that they will at least win the league title together.
— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) May 1, 2021
Alternatives: Antoine Griezmann and Roberto Firmino are other false 9 options that could be considered.
3)JULES KOUNDE – SEVILLA
PSG haven’t replaced their key centre-back, Thiago Silva. After losing Silva as a free agent, they have decided to go with Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe as the main cetre halves. This has proved to be a bad decision, as they missed a dynamic presence at the back. Pochettino would be hoping he can sign a quality center back for PSG in the next transfer window.
15': Marquinhos takes the lead
64': KDB equalises
71': Mahrez makes it 2-1
77': Gueye sees red
PSG's second half has been a nightmare 😬 pic.twitter.com/TwVDvk5q82
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 28, 2021
Jules Kounde’s break-out season in Spain has seen him emerge as a top contender to be the long-term centre-back in Paris. The youngster is blessed with good pace and a tall body frame to win headers. His awareness of the game is excellent for someone at his age.
Real Madrid, PSG and Manchester City are all interested in signing Jules Koundé this summer. The defender has a release clause of €80m. (Source: Diario) pic.twitter.com/OLUNinaNZ3
— Transfer News Live (@DeadlineDayLive) February 12, 2021
The chance to move back to his native France would surely excite him. Any move this summer won’t come cheaply as Sevilla have inserted a 80 million release clause for their star centre-back.
Alternatives: Raphael Varane in the final years of his contract at Real Madrid can also be brought back to France.
4)NORDI MUKIELE – RB LEIPZIG
PSG’s full-back issues are long unsolved. They haven’t had a single world-class option in that position for many years. Almost all the top teams in the world possess quality fullbacks on both sides of the pitch. Fullbacks not only defend but also provide key attacking outlets in the modern game. Pochettino who has excellent record of improving full-backs too.
🎙Mauricio Pochettino on Mbappe 🇫🇷: "He has a very good state of mind, always available in training, he is the top scorer in Ligue 1. We now expect him to have fun and have a performance that can develop what he is capable of doing." #PSGSB29 #PSG pic.twitter.com/FQcCC77Qxk
— RouteOneFootball (@Route1futbol) January 8, 2021
He will be hoping to sign a couple in the next transfer window for PSG. A young full-back with potential will prosper under the Argentine coach.
One such full-back is Nordi Mukiele, who has been exceptional for RB Leipzig in that regard. The highly-rated Frenchman is tall and fast and has the ability to fly up and down the pitch throughout the game. His exploits in both ends of the pitch are leading the bulls to a second-placed finish in the Bundesliga.
PSG were already in for him last summer, but no move was made. After this season, it must be a no-brainer that they should go and get their man.
RB Leipzig defender Nordi Mukiele has attracted interest from PSG according to Sky.
— SoccerPulz (@SoccerPulz) April 21, 2020
Alternative: Zeki Celik of Lille is in amazing form this season racking up goals and assists. He would also be an ideal fit for the clubs and if PSG sign him they will also weaken one of their rivals.