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Comparing PSG's 2015 Summer Transfer Moves to Their Major Rivals

Jonathan Johnson@@Jon_LeGossipFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2015

PSG's new coach Kevin Trapp, of Germany, poses with his jersey for media during an official presentation in Paris, France, Monday, July 13, 2015. Paris Saint Germain signed former Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Kevin Trapp on a five-year deal. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)
Kamil Zihnioglu/Associated Press

Paris Saint-Germain’s summer so far has not been ideal from the perspective of the French champions’ ambitious Qatari owners.

First, there was the issue of waiting for UEFA to decide how to ease Les Parisiens’ financial fair play (FFP) restrictions, delaying any forays into the transfer market.

Michel Euler/Associated Press

Then there was the question of sorting out the wantaway players, with Yohan Cabaye already returning to the English Premier League with Crystal Palace and Thiago Motta’s future remaining unclear.

Now PSG must conduct their summer business from the USA—where they are currently taking part in the International Champions Cup (ICC)—with key club figures based in Paris and Qatar.

It is hardly the ideal scenario for a club aspiring to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions league or better next season and in need of multiple reinforcements to do so.

Prior to leaving for North America, the Ligue 1 champions were able to complete some business, with German goalkeeper Kevin Trapp arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 25-year-old will provide Salvatore Sirigu with some much-needed competition for the starting role in Laurent Blanc’s strongest XI and also represents an upgrade on the Italian because of his superior aerial and technical ability.

Trapp made his debut in a 3-0 friendly win over Wiener Sportklub in Austria before he was unveiled to the press in Paris.

The German net minder then starred in PSG’s 3-2 ICC opening win over SL Benfica and is likely to keep the starting role for the Trophee des Champions clash against Olympique Lyonnais in Montreal, as well as the start of the Ligue 1 season.

Mike Janes/Associated Press

Les Parisiens are set to make Tottenham Hotspur’s Benjamin Stambouli their second signing of the summer, with the Frenchman expected to be announced as the capital club’s latest recruit imminently, according to Sky Sports.

Tim Ireland/Associated Press

Stambouli will replace Cabaye, and the former Montpellier HSC man will add greatly to Blanc’s strength in depth, considering that he is capable of not only playing his preferred defensive midfield role, but also as a central defender.

After the arrival of Stambouli is made official, PSG will then be able to concentrate fully on securing the services of Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria. The French giants have been keen on the Argentina international since it became clear he was leaving Real Madrid, and it is looking increasingly likely that they will get their man this summer, according to L'Equipe (h/t the Independent).

Di Maria is believed to be a key part of Blanc’s plans to improve his current side, and if the 27-year-old does move to Parc des Princes, then PSG will have landed their priority target.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Cabaye leaving does not weaken Les Parisiens, with Stambouli coming in to replace him. The France international was a failure in Paris, and his younger compatriot should have no problem making more of an impression in the chances that Blanc gives him.

David Vincent/Associated Press

However, Motta’s departure would be a big blow. The Italian has admitted he is unhappy and desires a change, but PSG—understandably—are desperate to keep him considering he has become a key part of Blanc’s starting XI over the past two seasons.

The team could arguably cope with the loss of the Italian on the pitch, but his experience and leadership is vital. There is no guarantee, especially with the club pursuing Di Maria so intently, that PSG could replace Motta if he exits this summer.

On top of the potential arrival of the Argentinian, the French champions are expected to pursue a new left-back to replace Lucas Digne and a new central midfielder.

Overall, PSG have made some progress in strengthening their squad, but they still have plenty left to do if they wish to match up to their continental rivals.

Domestically, Les Parisiens remain ahead of the field.

Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press

Olympique Lyonnais, who pushed Blanc’s men so close for the best part of last season before falling away at the end, are in a position of strength.

Hubert Fournier’s men have brought in Claudio Beauvue from EA Guingamp and Jeremy Morel from Olympique de Marseille, with Fares Bahlouli joining AS Monaco the only major loss this summer—despite the exit of playmaker Yoann Gourcuff.

Crucially, they have not lost any of their talented young players, and the team that fared so well and finished second behind PSG—but in front of Monaco—has been preserved. Another season together will strengthen their bond and could see them better last campaign's achievements. 

Christophe Ena/Associated Press

Les Monegasques have regenerated, selling a number of important players—including Geoffrey Kondogbia and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco—and replacing them with more cost-effective options as they transform into Ligue 1’s answer to Portuguese giants and transfer market kings FC Porto.

Marseille have been weakened, losing their four key players in a fire sale to address the financial problems at the club. Marcelo Bielsa is in the process of rebuilding, but a title bid is unlikely to originate at Stade Velodrome this coming season.

Lyon are the best placed to challenge PSG in Ligue 1 this coming season and have not been weakened since last campaign, but despite their concerns, the current French titleholders are still stronger—at least on paper—than Les Gones.

In Europe, though, it is a different story.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

PSG arguably possess one of the strongest squads on the Continent, however, there are still a number of sides clearly stronger than them.

Last season’s defending UEFA Champions League winners, Barcelona, are still more complete than Blanc’s group. The Spanish giants possess strength in depth and arguably the most lethal strike force in the game.

Kamil Zihnioglu/Associated Press

PSG have followed Barca’s example by bringing in a second goalkeeper to ensure greater competition in that area, but the French capital outfit are still far away from having nearly as much quality strength in depth.

Utilising so many of the club’s youngsters in the ICC suggests PSG are finally ready to take their fertile academy more seriously than they have done in the past. If this remains the case, then they are capable of adding strength in depth in future by relying on their homegrown players in the way that Barca do.

PSG’s starting XI is not as strong as Barcelona’s, mostly thanks to Barca’s fearsome front line, but the quality of that lineup is also not that far away from that of the Spanish giants. Without injuries and suspensions this time around, another meeting in the Champions League could be problematic for Luis Enrique’s men.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

Real Madrid are another side who remain superior to PSG, both in terms of their starting XI and strength in depth.

The potential signing of Di Maria could bridge some of the gap between the pair, but Los Blancos have still added some quality players this summer—even if it has been quiet by their usual standards so far.

Silvia Izquierdo/Associated Press

Like Barca and Real, Bayern Munich are also ahead of PSG.

With the addition this summer of Douglas Costa and the expected arrival of Arturo Vidal, as reported by the Guardian, that gap is larger than it was last season, and the Ligue 1 champions need a combination of starting XI-strengthening signings and squad depth to get close to Pep Guardiola’s men once again.

Chelsea, despite having been knocked out in the last 16 of the Champions League by PSG last season, are also still ahead of Blanc’s men.

The additions of Radamel Falcao and Asmir Begovic have made an already strong squad that bit stronger, and Jose Mourinho is expected to make more additions before the end of the summer window.

Matt Dunham/Associated Press

PSG signing Di Maria and landing their targets at left-back and midfield—in addition to the likely arrival of Stambouli—would bring them closer to the Londoners. Chelsea were seen as the stronger of the two sides prior to last term’s encounter, though, and will remain that way in many people’s eyes going into the new season.

Mike Janes/Associated Press

Overall, PSG are marginally stronger now than they were last season. However, Motta’s potential departure could change that. If the Italian leaves, Blanc would need to fill a sizeable hole in his midfield, and considering how invested the club are in the pursuit of Di Maria, it would be a difficult loss to overcome.

There is still more than a month of potential activity left, though, and there is plenty of time for PSG to make up some of the gap between themselves and Europe’s leading sides.

However, Les Parisiens are likely to remain perched on the periphery of the elite until they possess the same quality strength in depth that all of their main continental rivals currently enjoy.