X

Are Paris Saint-Germain World Football's Most Dangerous Club This Summer?

Daniel Tiluk@@danieltilukFeatured ColumnistJuly 3, 2015

AP Images

Three days into the 2015 summer transfer window, and the biggest breaking news story has not concerned a transaction—more a ruling: Paris Saint-Germain have had their UEFA financial fair play (FFP) sanctions lifted.

Europe's football governing body, listening to PSG's argument they should not be additionally penalised, agreed with the sentiment (as the FFP system is being revamped), and the French champions' punishment was discarded. Ligue 1's three-time defending champions were originally scheduled for a €60 million/£42.5 million transfer budget this summer—but their vast bank vault can now open wider.

Paris Saint-Germain must buy attacking players to aid/replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Paris Saint-Germain must buy attacking players to aid/replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic.Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Since July 2013, the Parisians have spent €210 million/£162.5 million on just six players: Edinson Cavani, Marquinhos, Lucas Digne, Yohan Cabaye, David Luiz and Serge Aurier.

Excluding Cavani, none of the six are attackers (though Luiz may dispute the claim), thus—as Zlatan Ibrahimovic turns 34 this October—Laurent Blanc is in dire need of fresh forward options.

Paris Saint-Germain's ownership group, the Qatar Investment Authority, has pumped millions into the club's brand, infrastructure and on-pitch quality, but they have done so over the past few seasons with one hand behind their figurative back.

Securing top-tier talent means PSG are competing with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Manchester United and others. Unable to generate the revenue perennial giants can, nor having enough time to announce themselves on the global scene, an ability to spend bountifully is crucial for Paris Saint-Germain to obtain their ultimate target in the Champions League.

Able to spend more freely this summer, Paris Saint-Germian are thinking grand-scale.
Able to spend more freely this summer, Paris Saint-Germian are thinking grand-scale.Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

FFP was intended to create a level playing field, but it has had the opposite effect.

Clubs with established brands have the wherewithal to splash cash, whereas nouveau-riche clubs beginning their climbs to domestic and European titles have a near-impossible route to navigate—especially without a massive stadium and/or a known fan base. This disparity entices middling clubs to risk sanction for competitiveness.

Manchester City and PSG, who—unlike Chelsea for instance—did not have enough time to create universal brands, are largely dependent on match-day revenue and prize winnings, as UEFA essentially shackled the millions new owners could inject.

New FFP rules should equal more parity, pitting old money vs. new money.

Angel Di Maria was linked with Paris Saint-Germain last summer but signed for Manchester United.
Angel Di Maria was linked with Paris Saint-Germain last summer but signed for Manchester United.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

This summer, needing to liven their squad, Paris Saint-Germain have apparently seen the writing on the wall and are aiming rather large.

Jason Burt of the Telegraph and French radio station RMC (via the Daily Express' Anthony Chapman) have linked PSG with nearly £130 million on two players.

Chapman notes Manchester United's Angel Di Maria is frustrated at Old Trafford and wants a move to the French capital—priced at £42.5 million. Bought last summer for £59.7 million, Di Maria has been underwhelming as a Red Devil, and Louis van Gaal could be persuaded to let the Argentinian leave for the right price, ESPN FC posited Cavani coming the other way might be a possibility.

Were the 27-year-old to switch allegiances, he may reunite with former Real Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo to Paris Saint-Germain is to sell papers—but it's still indicative of a larger positive.
Cristiano Ronaldo to Paris Saint-Germain is to sell papers—but it's still indicative of a larger positive.Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

In what would be the shock of the 2015 transfer window, the Telegraph's Burt suggested last month Paris Saint-Germain were waiting on a positive resolution with UEFA and would then consider an £87 million bid for Madrid's talisman.

The first component of Burt's equation has happened, so might an audacious transfer actually materialise? That depends largely on the erratic whims of Real president Florentino Perez, which is to say: anything is possible.

Ronaldo will turn 31 during 2015/16, hence £87 million looks a massive sum for someone approaching the end of their prime. For PSG, though, Ronaldo at any age is a coup. He would provide them with a marketing linchpin post-Ibrahimovic, Champions League experience and three to five seasons of gaudy statistics.

A topic for another day: Is Laurent Blanc really the man to handle your millions?
A topic for another day: Is Laurent Blanc really the man to handle your millions?David Ramos/Getty Images

The veracity, likelihood and eventual outcome of these two rumours is somewhat overstated: Ronaldo playing at the Parc des Princes is more silly season than transfer news; Di Maria is more believable, but still unlikely. What matters is Paris Saint-Germain being in the conversation about the world's best footballers, with funds to substantiate the claims.

Will PSG spend upwards of £130 million on Ronaldo and Di Maria this summer? Probably not.

Can PSG spend upwards of £130 million this summer? Yes; which makes them as dangerous as any club in Europe, because—as seen with Luiz last June—they are liable to try any and everything.

*Stats via WhoScored.com; transfer fees via Soccerbase where not noted.