Currently topping Ligue 1 and in impressive form in the Champions League, too, Paris Saint-Germain are one of Europe’s form teams at present.
The criticism often levelled at Le Championnat, though, is that it is not competitive enough—not true, given the six different champions in the last six seasons—and that PSG are not challenged enough domestically.
That already looks as if it is changing with the reintroduction of AS Monaco to France’s top flight after they won promotion from Ligue 2.
Les Monegasques splashed the cash over the summer and look to be PSG’s most fierce rivals over the next few seasons at least.
But what if, speaking in fantasy terms, the French champions were granted entry to the English Premier League. How would they fare competing with the likes of Manchester City and United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani, all recently named on the provisional 23-man list for the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or as revealed by ESPN FC, would certainly enhance the EPL’s current prestige.
But would the side from the French capital be able to triumph overall? It is an interesting proposition.
PSG’s current complexion is a mouth-watering array of star talent that has been assembled at high cost. All over the pitch there is quality and, on paper, the French giants have one of the strongest starting XIs.
In fact, their squad depth is such that PSG arguably have one of the strongest groups in European competition at present.
There is no doubt that this current side is the strongest that the capital club has seen since the arrival of Qatar Sports Investments in 2011. But in terms of individual ability, it is almost certainly PSG’s best-ever side and eclipses even the golden generation of the mid 1990s.
Given that the club was only formed in 1970, PSG have come a long way in a short time and would dwarf some EPL clubs in terms of stature.
As well as the players that PSG are able to buy because of their considerable financial backing, the side from the French capital are also adept at bringing through their own talent.
Newcastle United may dominate the majority of the EPL’s French talent, but a number of former PSG players are based across the channel.
Liverpool’s French international Mamadou Sakho now plies his trade with the Reds after completing his summer move from PSG at the end of the transfer window.
West Bromwich Albion’s Youssouf Mulumbu was another academy graduate who now plays Premier League football, as is well-travelled Nicolas Anelka. Both feature alongside former PSG men Diego Lugano and Stephane Sessegnon, while Everton’s Sylvain Distin spent two years in the French capital.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: What more can be said about this man that has not been said already? On his current form, the Swede has played his way into Ballon d’Or contention and is arguably the best player in world football right now.
Thiago Silva: Although he has suffered an injury-hit season so far, Brazilian captain Thiago Silva is widely regarded as the best defender in world football. The 29-year-old was instrumental in PSG’s run to the Champions League quarter-finals last season, where they were eliminated by Barcelona, justifying his €45million transfer fee with some exceptional performances.
Edinson Cavani: France’s most expensive-ever footballer has had a mixed start to life in Paris. Although El Matador has not yet hit it off with strike partner Ibrahimovic, he has still scored seven goals in as many league starts this term and justifies his tag as one of the world’s most clinical footballers.
Blaise Matuidi: A largely unsung hero in the PSG team, French international Matuidi has become an integral part of the capital club’s makeup. At 26, he has a long career at the top of the European game ahead of him.
Marco Verratti: One of PSG’s star performers so far this season, Verratti is showing signs of developing into a world-class star.
Salvatore Sirigu: Unlucky to be behind Gianluigi Buffon in the pecking order for Italy, Srigu has proved to be one of PSG’s most sage investments under QSI, despite a flood of big-money signings.
Marquinhos: PSG spent the princely sum of €35million on the 19-year-old Brazilian this summer, his arrival heralded the end of Sakho’s 12-year association with the capital club. The teenage sensation has set about justifying that hefty price tag in impressive fashion.
Laurent Blanc is no stranger to the English Premier League and has already experienced playing in the competition. Le President spent two years with Manchester United at the end of his illustrious career and featured almost 50 times.
Since moving into coaching, Blanc won a league and league cup double with Girondins de Bordeaux in 2009. He has also coached the French national team, leading them to their ill-fated Euro 2012 campaign that was undermined by internal problems.
The good start made by PSG this season has gone a long way to repairing the damage unfairly done to his reputation. It has also come as something of a surprise because he was not an obvious first choice to replace Carlo Ancelotti.
On paper, PSG have a squad capable of winning the Champions League. Their starting XI is one of the best in Europe and there is little doubt that the French champions could compete with the EPL’s best.
The problem is until PSG face an English opponent in the Champions League, there are no meetings in their current shape on which to base an opinion. That may well change in this year’s competition if Blanc’s side draw a Premier League opponent, assuming that they progress from their group.
Considering the likes of Ibrahimovic, Silva, Cavani and Matuidi, PSG would definitely be title contenders. The style of football might take the team by surprise, but it is nothing that their calibre of skill could not adapt to quickly.
PSG’s strength in midfield would allow them to dominate their opponents on a regular basis and they would be difficult for their main rivals to beat home or away.
Comparing them with the other squads in the Premier League at present, it is difficult not to imagine them at least challenging for the title.
Prediction: Top 3.
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