Paris Saint-Germain agreed to a massive transfer fee to get Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva from AC Milan, but torching Ligue 1 defenses will not be enough for the star striker and he must have success in the Champions League.
ESPN reported on July 12 that the Serie A side agreed to deal two of its best players for a €62 million fee.
The Qatar Investment Authority took majority ownership of the Parisian club last year and has hit this summer’s transfer market with its wallet wide open.
Their lavish spending is reminiscent of Roman Abramovich’s takeover at Chelsea, and like this situation, the ultimate goal of these blockbusters buys is not domestic trophies.
The best clubs in Europe are certainly pleased when they win a league championship, but the Champions League trophy is always the true prize.
This means the club’s biggest stars, who are now Ibrahimovic and Silva, must have their best performances on Europe’s biggest stage.
Ibrahimovic has a reputation for being a temperamental player who does not perform well in important matches. He has never won the Champions League, but both Barcelona and Inter Milan went on to win the tournament shortly after he left each club.
But now is his chance to erase this legacy. Barring another startling transfer or two, PSG is unlikely to contend for the UCL trophy, and this will remove a significant amount of pressure from the striker.
A few inspired performances from the Swede would result in the team overachieving, and it would silence many of Ibrahimovic’s critics.
This season will be a fantastic opportunity for Ibrahimovic to put PSG on the map in Europe’s elite competition. The team’s fourth-place finish from two seasons ago meant they spent last year in the Europa League.
After taking second in Ligue 1 in 2011-12, they receive an automatic bid into the Champions League. A fine UCL performance would likely attract other top players from across the continent, and in a couple seasons, Ibrahimovic may be surrounded by a side capable of competing with the best teams in Europe.
PSG’s goal is to become a club that consistently competes for the UCL title, and Ibrahimovic’s form over the next couple seasons will have a significant impact on the team’s ability to improve its status.