We expected PSG to flex their financial muscles this summer after a very disappointing 2016/17 campaign but it’s fair to say Nasser Al-Khelaifi exceeded all expectations in the transfer market over the summer.
Neymar was obviously the stand out signing of the summer. The £200 million that PSG splashed out on the Brazilian made him the world’s most expensive player but the introduction of Neymar not only makes Paris a serious candidate in Europe but sent a ripple effect across the whole transfer market. Players prices across the rest of Europe considerably increased due to out of this world transfer fee paid by PSG for Neymar.
The pressure of having such a price tag hasn’t had any negative effects on the world’s most expensive player thus far in Paris. Neymar has made an outstanding start to life in Ligue 1 – with three goals in three assists from only three starts – but he isn’t the only Brazilian to hit the ground running at PSG. Dani Alves was Emery’s first foray in the market after he chose PSG after Manchester City and the 34 year-old has been excellent at right-back. On the front foot he has added a creative spark and brought must-needed composure in defence.
Spanish left-back Yuri Berchiche – who is yet to make his debut – joined Dani Alves in Paris and PSG ended the window with the standout transfer of Kylian Mbappe on deadline day! The 18 year-old wonderkid had been linked to a move away from Monaco all summer and PSG finally landed the final blow to bring Mbappe to the club, much to the delight of every PSG fan on twitter, who also were also able to witness the new signing score his first goal for France later in the evening.
With a host of new faces and players inevitably leaving the club, I recount the winners and the losers in Paris after the summer…
The £200 million man was the highlight of the summer and unsurprisingly was the biggest winner from the summer. The saga took a lot out of us as supporters as the reports swung one way and then the another in the build up but after a stressful month wiling him to move, Neymar finally made the unbelievable move to Paris. With that Neymar brought his international brand and hope that PSG can “dream bigger” in the Champions League, as well as the opportunity for Neymar to be the main man and potentially win the Ballon d’Or.
The expectations are high but Neymar has made an excellent start. A much deserved goal and assist in his debut away at Guingamp was followed by an exceptional 9 out of 10 rating by French sports paper L’Equipe in Paris’ 6-2 win against Toulouse. Thanks in part to the Brazilian, PSG have a 100% record going into the international break and will look to press on on all fronts with the world’s most expensive player in their ranks.
He only burst onto the scene at the start of the year but 26 goals in 44 games – including six goals in the knockout stages of the Champions League – at the age of 18 makes you one of the most sought after players in Europe. Mbappe had a dream deadline day, getting his loan move, with the option to buy next summer, to PSG and later went to score his first senior goal for France.
The signature is massive to the club, who are getting the most exiting young prospect in Europe, but transfer is even bigger for the 18 year-old who got his dream move to his boyhood club. The former Monaco striker has also got his sights set on next years World Cup and his move to Paris also guarantees crucial playing time to impress Didier Deschamps ahead of a big tournament for world’s most talented teenager.
It was barely six months ago when PSG fell second to Monaco in the league and manager Unai Emery looked to be staring at the exit sign in Paris, but those memories have been put to rest with incredible business throughout the summer. With the help of new sporting director, Antero Henrique, Emery has turned PSG into a real force, that should not only regain the French title, but be real contenders in the latter stages of the Champions League for years to come. At least for now the future looks bright for Emery in Paris.
Jese Rodriquez and Gregzorz Krychowiak
Two of the major signings from last summer have failed to make any impact what so ever in France and consequently both found loan moves away to the Premier League. Jese’s spell at PSG has probably been the most disappointing. The Spaniard had a high reputation and potential at Real Madrid but only scored a handful of times in the capital and has subsequently been loaned out to Stoke City, with his future at PSG in pieces. The latter of the two also moved to England, and to West Brom, in search for game time after Emery had refused to give him a chance over course of last season.
Despite both being surplus to requirements since joining, their attitudes and professionalism can only be admired and PSG supporters like myself will be wishing the best for them during their loan spells away.
Hatem Ben Arfa
30 years of age and never proven himself on the big stage, Hatem Ben Arfa was always a risky signing last summer and a risk that unfortunately hasn’t paid off. Alongside Krychowiak, Ben Arfa barley made it onto the Parisien bench during the second half of last season and looked for all the world like he would be shipped out in order to fund the unprecedented Neymar transfer. As things turned out, the Frenchman never found a move away and now only time will tell if Ben Arfa gets given another chance for his boyhood club