Paris Saint-Germain’s pursuit of Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria is on the verge of concluding, according to the latest reports coming out of Spain, but the likely result of the Argentine joining the French champions will be that Los Blancos acquire Colombian FIFA World Cup star James Rodriguez from AS Monaco.
Per El Confidencial's Jose Felix Diaz (h/t HITC Sport's Lewis Doe) on Wednesday, Di Maria is set to sign for PSG, despite coach Carlo Ancelotti wanting the player to remain in the Spanish capital. However, the Italian has also given his blessing to a move for James and Real intend to use the money from the sale of their No. 22 to finance a deal with Monaco.
Di Maria is thought to have chosen PSG over Manchester United, per the Express' Jamie Anderson on Thursday, so the man known as el Fideo (the noodle) holds the key to what could be the biggest move of this summer’s transfer window.
The same AS report also claimed Real have found an agreement with James already, with both clubs close to agreeing a deal for €70 million and one player—believed to be Brazilian midfielder Casemiro—to take the Colombian to Santiago Bernabeu.
The sticking point, then, is where the money comes from for Real to make such a deal happen.
Selling one or two current players is an option, with goalkeeper Iker Casillas and Sami Khedira the most likely options according to both Inside Spanish Football's Tom Conn and the Daily Mail's Simon Jones.
However, the latest is that the German international is now set to sign a new contract with Real after a change of heart, again per London Evening Standard's Simon Johnson on Thursday. While selling one of their current goalkeepers—Casillas or Diego Lopez—will free up some money, it is not likely to be enough to allow Di Maria to stay in Madrid and for James to still arrive.
Realistically, Los Blancos need a mega offer from PSG—the approximate €60 million bid reported by AS (h/t ESPNFC)—in order to guarantee that they can bring in Rodriguez. Any move for the Colombian outside of that will almost certainly bring about UEFA financial fair play (FFP) sanctions.
The same goes for PSG, though.
Given the circumstances, there is every chance that this transfer does not happen because Les Parisiens simply cannot afford that figure because of their recent FFP sanctions, per ESPNFC.
If PSG want to sign Di Maria, they will need to find the money through sales from their current stellar squad, of which many members—such as Edinson Cavani, Marco Verratti, Marquinhos and Lucas Moura—are “not for sale” per Marca’s Pablo Polo on Monday.
Should this not happen and Di Maria remains at Real Madrid and James stays in Monaco, PSG and Les Monegasques, not to mention Ligue 1, would not be losing out.
In fact, if anything, Le Championnat has a lot to gain by keeping hold of a star like the Colombian.
If PSG are ultimately unable to lure Di Maria to Parc des Princes this summer, it would not be the end of the world for the capital club. There is more than enough quality in the current squad to go and win the French title for a third consecutive time without making radical changes.
Plus, if the Argentine was to join Laurent Blanc’s side, he would essentially act as an upgrade on both compatriots Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi because of his ability to play on both sides and through the middle. Admittedly he would be a threat to Lucas as well but, as Marca claimed, he is one of PSG’s unsellable stars.
While the Di Maria move makes sense for the French giants on paper, his arrival would mean getting rid of both Pastore and Lavezzi. This is no easy task as both have failed to live up to expectations in France.
The former would command nowhere near the €42 million Les Parisiens spent on him back in 2011, per ESPNFC, while the latter—despite an excellent 2014 so far—would not recoup his full €30 million price tag, again per ESPNFC.
However, the major concern for French football right now—more than PSG—is Monaco. The capital club’s closest challengers, in both financial and sporting terms, are inactive on the market at the moment and are not building on last season’s impressive second place finish.
As mentioned by Bleacher Report’s own Andrew Gibney on Wednesday, the principality outfit are stagnating if anything following the costly arrival of the inexperienced Leonardo Jardim to replace the more experienced Claudio Ranieri as coach.
Plus, even if Les Monegasques are to receive a large sum of money for their star man, there is no guarantee that they will reinvest it. Money was thought to be no issue on the Cote d'Azur, but this summer's almost non-existent transfer dealings suggest that Monaco's ambitious project might already be stalling after one solitary season.
Therefore, PSG have the ability—by missing out on Di Maria—to ensure that Ligue 1’s title race remains somewhat competitive by depriving Real of the means with which they will buy James.
With Monaco not looking prepared to show the same ambition that they did last summer this time around, keeping the likes of Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao—another potentially departing star—is their best hope of remaining competitive at the top in France.
PSG have the power to make sure that Le Championnat remains a two-horse race for at least another season by showing some restraint and rare financial responsibility.