Ever since the takeover of the Qatar Investment Authority in 2021, PSG has become one of the exciting sides in Europe. Having dominated French football in the last decade, the only thing left for the club to win is the elusive Champions League trophy.
PSG came close to winning the Champions League in the 2019-20 season, finishing as runners up behind Bayern Munich. Last season the club lost to Manchester City in the semi-final and eventually saw their former manager Thomas Tuchel win the trophy with Chelsea.
However, the club has gone ahead with a massive transfer window to bring in some of the best players in the world. This includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Achraf Hakimi to name a few. But will PSG be finally able to lift the Champions League or will they have to continue their wait?
PSG AND THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE WORTHY SQUAD
The current PSG squad is arguably one of the most star-studded squads the club has ever had. The Galactico like transfers made by the Parisians has provided us with a dream attack comprising Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Mauro Icardi complete the attack and can replacements.
PSG midfield comprises the likes of Wijnaldum, Marco Verratti, Paredes, Ander Herrera, Idrissa Gueye and Danilo Pereira. The side does lack an excellent creator. Recent links to Paul Pogba will be a good choice to fill in this gap. While the midfield is not as fancy as the attack, they help in absorbing many of the works of the front line.
Defence for PSG has Sergio Ramos, Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe, Thilo Kehrem, Achraf Hakimi, Juan Bernat, Nuno Mendes, Abdou Diallo and Laywin Kurzawa. Ramos has not yet made an appearance for PSG due to his injury and the club will surely improve once he comes back.
Hakimi has been one of the best pieces of business, yet the club still is doubtful about the left-back position. The goalkeeping position for the club is also strong with both Donnarumma and Keylor Navas competition for it. The squad does have the depth and the return of players from injury will add to their chances.
While having a squad filled with world-class players might look good on paper, managing them is a different story. When there are too many players to choose from it often end up conflicts. It takes extreme care from the managers’ side to handle the egos in the dressing room and keep the team morale high.
PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino was known for how he developed a young Tottenham Hotspur side to one of the best in the Premier League. He mostly dealt with young players and was good at motivating and developing them. But now in PSG, he has to manage superstars of the game and there are already reports of disharmony.
There were reports regarding goalkeeper Donnarumma, who was said to be unhappy with being benched for matches. While this issue did not make many headlines, PSG cannot afford to lose Donnarumma. He is one of the best young goalkeepers in the world. The club will have to be careful in managing the time of the players on the ground.
Similarly, there were reports of some players not working well with Mbappe, especially after the French attacker was linked with a move to Real Madrid. If the news coming is true, this can impact PSG when they progress further into the Champions League.
Hence Pochettino needs to have control of the dressing room rather than with a few players. How effectively the Argentine can manage his stars will determine not only PSG’s chances of being the European champions but also his future.
Another important element that PSG will have to overcome will be the competition. Most other teams have strengthened in the summer. PSG will have a target on their back due to the quality of the team and hence it won’t be easy.
The major contenders for PSG will be Bayern Munich. The German champions did lose to the Parisians in the last season of the Champions League. Yet this could be because of the absence of their star striker Robert Lewandowski in the match. Bayern is looking to be more lethal this season and is going to be a side to keep an eye on.
Manchester City has been a favourite for the title in the past few seasons. The situation remains the same as the Citizens will look to do one better than the last season. The current Champions Chelsea have strengthened their side mainly with the addition of striker Romelu Lukaku. The Blues are surely going to be a force, coming to the business end of the tournament.
Liverpool had a poor season last time mainly due to the injuries in defence. The Reds have started the new season with more energy and purpose and are another team that has a good chance to secure the title. Apart from these favourites, the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid have the quality and pedigree to challenge any side on their day.
The competition will make it extremely hard for PSG to secure their first-ever Champions League title. Though they have the quality, Champions League also requires good luck and excellent chemistry within the team.
Currently, the PSG side has not made major claims to be the front runners for the trophy. The team still need work and till now they have been getting results due to the individual quality of the players. Also playing Manchester City in the group stage does provide a good platform to test among the best, giving much-needed experience.
So the verdict; PSG have the quality and depth to go deep into the tournament and win it. However, the club needs to be careful in managing its superstars. The players must be accommodated without it affecting the team performance. Whether Pochettino is up for the task, will finally determine their chance of European silverware.
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