The winners of French Ligue 1 next year will be PSG. If you tell me that with supreme confidence, I would not be amazed at all. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the many recruits PSG have bought this summer, would be enough to ensure that PSG win the league next season.
If you look at the starting eleven of PSG, just some of the names; Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore, Jeremy Menez and, of course, the superstar – Zlatan Ibrahimovic. And those are backed with the defence of Alex and Thiago Silva. Formidable, one would say. Frankly, these names are terrifying. And more so if you are a French League team. Lille and Montpellier have been pick-pocketed of their best players. Lyon are no longer the force they were. And Marseille, regardless of the promise they might show in the league, are just quite not capable of winning it. The new recruits at PSG are so strong that they would run over most of the teams in the French league.
The big spending by PSG certainly attracts comparisons to Manchester City and Chelsea. While Manchester City spent fortunes over buying players last season, all they ended up winning was one trophy. Blasted out of the Champions League group stages followed by failure in the Europa League against Sporting Lisbon. After enormous spending by Chelsea, and changing managers like baby-diapers, it took them eight years to win the Champions League. Of course, the Champions League is the most coveted prize and now a debate ensues about the best way to win it. Spending big? Or forming a team like Barcelona, who would run over you and beat you 5-0 on their brightest day? This inevitably draws our attention to what PSG might bring to the European stage. They would surely succeed in their domestic league, but what about Europe? Does big money spending guarantee success at the European stage? Would the Qatar Investment stick along if it takes PSG as long as Chelsea?
The two big signings for PSG were obviously a result of the debt-ridden Italian clubs trying to ease their financial situation. They had to sell Ibrahimovic and Silva. Given that they succeed in the French league and let’s say they make it to the quarters in the Champions League, would they have done enough to still attract the quality of Zlatan and Silva? I don’t think so. The only way PSG can stamp their mark is by making it big in Europe. Champions League has to be bread and butter for them this season. Surely, when you make comparisons with Manchester City here, the French league is not that appealing to players as is the Premier League. So, while City would continue to attract top names, I would surely not guarantee that for PSG next season. Maybe the PSG honeymoon wouldn’t last too long. Or if they manage to spring a surprise or two and beat the hell out of the top clubs in Europe, they might still succeed in that case.
With the managerial prowess of Carlo Ancelotti, there is no doubt that they will contesting for big things this season. But with the ‘money-clubs’ rising in number slowly and steadily, are they the ones to look forward to? I’d personally still root for the prestigious ones with history behind them and for the way they go about their football.
Well, let’s keep this debate for later. For now, let’s just hope that the juggernaut named Zlatan Ibrahimovic pierces through the defences of the French teams and shows his talent at the European stage as well.
Not to mention their financial clout, PSG might just be another force to reckon with.