In the past fortnight Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with two top strikers in Napoli’s Edinson Cavani (RMC Radio) and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney (Le 10 Sport). The capital club’s sporting director, Leonardo, has denied both reports (ESPNFC). But it remains obvious that PSG are now looking for a new striker this summer.
The Brazilian claims that Zlatan Ibrahimovic will stay (ESPNFC) despite suggestions that he will be moving on in the summer because of his unhappiness in Paris. Those reports were then also denied by the Swede’s agent, Mino Raiola (ESPNFC).
It would appear, then, that any signing would be brought in to play alongside Ibrahimovic. This raises the question of Rooney’s suitability to play alongside the 31-year-old if he were to make the move that has been touted since The Times first ran the story in February.
Firstly there are question marks over Michel Moulin of Le 10 Sport’s accuracy. He has also claimed before that a host of names including Karim Benzema (Le 10 Sport) would join the side from the capital and so far have yet to materialise.
British-based French football journalist Julien Laurens has also questioned the strength of the claims (talkSPORT), so those reports of a “done deal” are highly premature.
There may be concrete interest on the part of PSG, but looking at the bigger picture Rooney does not appear to be a straightforward fit in Carlo Ancelotti’s side. The Italian himself appears skeptical of the deal (ESPNFC), and with Ibrahimovic reportedly staying in the French capital, the Englishman would have to play alongside the Swede at the Parc des Princes.
Despite PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s well-documented (Sky Sports) liking for Rooney, the Englishman’s problems at Manchester United would essentially follow him to Paris. Currently the 27-year-old has to deal with the fact that Robin van Persie is undoubtedly the focal point of Alex Ferguson’s attack. At PSG, he would have to deal with an even more dominant character in Ibrahimovic.
Rooney would not be the key component in Les Parisiens' attack if he were to join, because of the Swede’s prolific goalscoring feats and his unselfish creative side.
Currently, Ancelotti’s side are looking for a serial marksman who would enable the team to have more cutting edge when it comes to domestic-league matches against very defensive opposition and in Europe where Ibrahimovic prefers to play as a creator as opposed to a predator.
Many point to Ibrahimovic’s goal tally this year as proof that he is a penalty-box king and is only a pure striker with little versatility. This could not be further from the truth. Ibrahimovic has been consistently creative throughout the season and likes to drop deep to collect the ball at times, essentially occupying a No. 10 role.
That is the role that Rooney has perfected over time for Ferguson’s side and England, and he’d arguably find it difficult switching back to being a team’s main goal threat, as he too likes to explore his creative side. It does not make much sense for PSG to be playing two players with very similar approaches to the game, although different players and a partnership between the pair seems unlikely. Although, Ibrahimovic has insisted that he would welcome the arrival of Rooney should the Englishman make the switch (Sky Sports).
In all likeliness, the rumours of PSG signing Rooney is wishful thinking.
For a start David Beckham, who you would imagine is a key factor in any potential move for Rooney, is unsure of his future past the end of the season, with the decision firmly in his hands (Sky Sports). Secondly, Ferguson has come out and said that Rooney is going nowhere (ESPNFC) and, given how hard he fought to keep him in 2010, it would a surprise to see him leave now.
The move does not really make sense for either party, particularly as United appear to see Rooney as the long-term heir to Paul Scholes’ throne in the midfield whether the England international likes it or not.
For PSG, in this case, it is just another big name that they want, they don’t actually need Rooney.
In all likelihood, the capital club will be concentrating more on buying within France this summer. In fact, Leonardo has confirmed as much already (ESPNFC). Ancelotti’s side already have the crux of a very strong unit, capable of mixing with with the best and reaching the latter stages of the Champions League. Small adjustments as opposed to massive headline-grabbing moves are what is needed, but if PSG do go for a striker, it has to be a predator.
Cavani would be a more likely option for Les Rouges-et-Bleu, but it appears that neither are certainties at this moment. The extra tax that French teams will have to pay for their top talent from next season would make Rooney a luxury player.
The Englishman would be a massive capture for the club if they did pull it off, but Ibrahimovic would still remain the most important player in the PSG attack.