Paris Saint-Germain: Ready to Take Europe By Storm
Following their takeover by the Qatar Investment Authority, billionaire-backed Paris Saint-Germain have built a squad capable of challenging the very best in Ligue 1 and Europe.
As Javier Pastore looks set to seal his £37million switch from Serie A side Palermo in the coming days, adding to the likes of Kevin Gameiro and Blaise Matuidi, PSG have demonstrated financial power matched only by Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid.
Here are four reasons why Paris Saint-Germain can take Europe by storm this season.
Guillaume Hoarau (left)
Having held onto Guillaume Hoarau and Mevlut Erdinc, and signed Kevin Gameiro from Lorient, Paris Saint-Germain have assembled the best attack in Ligue 1 and possibly one of the best in Europe.
Main man Gameiro is a proven prolific striker in France, having scored 50 goals in 108 league games for Lorient, including a 22-goal haul last season.
His ability to create chances out of nothing and get shots away on goal despite heavy pressure from defenders, combined with his proven finishing ability gives him the perfect formula to score against all different types of defences across Europe—something which will come in very handy for PSG in the UEFA Europa League.
And providing support to the £13million signing is Guillaume Hoarau, the imposing 6ft 4in striker with the strength to match even the strongest of Premier League players, and the aerial ability which helped him score 15 goals last season.
Then there's Le Parisiens' other prolific striker, Mevlut Erding, who has scored almost a goal every other game in Ligue 1 over the past two seasons.
The Turkey international is the fastest player on his team, having the quick acceleration, close control and proven finishing skills which has seen Newcastle United convinced of his potential as a Premier League player.
The Paris club will have one of the most prolific and diverse front-lines in Europe.
Javier Pastore (right)
Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly set to complete the £37million capture of Javier Pastore from Serie A side Palermo, having beaten off competition from Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Such a signing, which Pastore himself confirmed will happen in the coming days, would take PSG to the next level both in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Europa League.
Manager Antoine Kombouaré likes to play with a central attacking focus, preferring to pass the ball through the middle than have to rely on crosses from the wings.
With fast players like Kevin Gameiro and Mevlut Erding up-front, such a style works perfectly with a high-quality playmaker. And that's where Pastore comes in.
The Argentina international only made six assists last season, but what makes him so valuable is the fact he made 73 key passes last season and had a pass completion rate of 73 per cent.
This makes him one of the most consistently accurate passers in Europe. And he received 1877 passes from teammates, the highest number of any player in Serie A and second highest in Europe.
Such statistics, combined with PSG's tactical set-up designed to get the most out a playmaker, show just how much the 22-year old can bring to the team this season.
He also has great finishing ability, scoring 14 goals in the 2010/11 campaign, making him the most prolific midfielder in the Italian top-flight.
Add that to an already prolific attack capable of tucking away the chances they're given, and it's clear Javier Pastore is the man who can lead Paris Saint-Germain to French and European glory.
The second most prolific goalscorer in Ligue 1 last season, Kevin Gameiro has showed all the signs in pre-season that he can repeat that achievement this term.
Gameiro has the proven finishing skills and ability to create something out of nothing, which makes him effective against all types of defences.
The France international also has great movement in the final third, with the turn of speed and tactical movement which has consistently seen him able to get in behind the opponent's defensive line and find one-on-ones with the opposition keeper.
And such attributes make Gameiro the perfect player to be PSG's attacking focal point, especially with someone like Javier Pastore, who's best pass is the short ball through the defence, as playmaker.
With man-mountain Guillaume Hoarau as the support striker, Gameiro's diminutive, speedier stature adds a different dimension to the side's attack and gives PSG the right balance of power and pace—combined with all-round good finishing ability—up-front to cause a problem to any defence.
A great signing by the club's new Qatari owners, Kevin Gameiro is exactly the sort of improvement to the team's attack which will no doubt see them improve greatly on their fourth placed finish in the league last season.
Blaise Matuidi (left)
In the 2010/11 season, Paris Saint-Germain secured a fourth place finish thanks to a relatively prolific strike force and more significantly a strong core to the team.
Mamadou Sakho was again inspirational for PSG, adding that steel-edge to the defence, while Claude Makelele pulled the strings in midfield with Clement Chantome.
However, what PSG lacked in midfield was height, added strength and a top quality playmaker. On defence Les Parisiens couldn't find a decent partner for captain Sakho.
This season, influential Makelele has been replaced by very highly-rated Blaise Matuidi, who's long been on the radar of Arsenal and Liverpool, while increased height and power to the midfield has been provided by the signing of Mohamed Sissoko from Juventus.
And in defence, the club have signed Milan Bisevac, who impressed many in France after his stellar performances for Valenciennes. Standing at 6 ft 1in, the Serb has the strength, stature and strong heading ability to form a good partnership with Sakho.
Add to that the qualities of Javier Pastore as the new playmaker and it's evident Paris Saint-Germain have a stronger, more technically proficient core to the team than they've had in many previous seasons.
And that combined with all the previous reasons means PSG have finally found the right formula which can see them return to their glory days and take Europe by storm.