Why Kevin Trapp Is the PSG Player Who Must Step Up in 2016

Jonathan Johnson@@Jon_LeGossipFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2016

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 08: Kevin Trapp of Paris Saint-Germain reacts during the Ligue 1 game between Paris Saint-Germain and SC Bastia at Parc des Princes on January 8, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain got back into the swing of things in Ligue 1 with a straightforward 2-0 win over SC Bastia at Parc des Princes on Friday.

Goals from Thiago Motta and Maxwell were enough for the French champions to claim all three points on the night. However, concerns were raised once again over goalkeeper Kevin Trapp in Les Parisiens’ goal.

During the second half, the German shot-stopper dropped a tame cross and the Corsicans almost managed to pull a goal back because of his mistake.

PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 13: Goalkeeper of PSG Kevin Trapp in action during the French Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Olympique Lyonnais (OL) at Parc des Princes stadium on December 13, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Ge
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

The 25-year-old has endured a bumpy start to life in Paris because of a number of costly errors and although this one was not as damaging as the gaffes against Real Madrid, Girondins de Bordeaux or Olympique Lyonnais, they betray a player who has clearly had his confidence knocked.

Despite Trapp’s latest shaky showing, PSG coach Laurent Blanc is unlikely to shift from his stance that the former Eintracht Frankfurt captain is the man that he wants between the sticks in his starting XI.

As reported by Le Parisien (h/t ESPN FC’s Mark Rodden), substitute goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu has already admitted that he is open to offers this month, and the Italy international is still expected to depart Parc des Princes before the transfer window slams shut.

The 28-year-old’s exit would pave the way for veteran Nicolas Douchez to return to his familiar role of substitute goalkeeper and defuse a messy situation, as Sirigu and the Frenchman are unhappy at their change in status since Trapp’s arrival.

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However, such a move would not put the German under threat of losing his place in the PSG starting XI.

Paris Saint-Germain's German goalkeeper Kevin Trapp sits on the ground  after the UEFA Champions League football match Real Madrid CF vs Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 3, 2015.   AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO

Although Edinson Cavani could quite easily be PSG’s player who most needs to step up in 2016 after a largely average first half of the season, Blanc needs Trapp to do so more than the Uruguay international.

As the capital club arguably showed against SM Caen and Bastia, a front three without El Matador is more balanced.

Le President gives his team more width when he starts with Zlatan Ibrahimovic flanked by Angel Di Maria and Lucas Moura, instead of crowbarring Cavani into the XI in a loose left-sided role.

Unlike the PSG No. 9, Trapp is now completely indispensable. He is also clearly Blanc’s preferred choice in goal, and the likes of Sirigu and Douchez know this.

Paris Saint-Germain's German goalkeeper Kevin Trapp reacts after conceding a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on September 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Dropping the German at this moment would not benefit the team as the damage to the Italian and the Frenchman’s confidence has already been done, and the additional damage it would do to the former’s already fragile self-confidence would be potentially devastating.

Instead, the 50-year-old needs his net minder to put his latest blunder behind him and to start emitting a sense of serenity behind an otherwise rock-solid defence marshaled by the impeccable Thiago Silva.

Should Trapp still be looking jittery when the UEFA Champions League latter stages get underway, last-16 adversaries Chelsea and other potential opponents—domestic and European for that matter—will immediately target the former 1. FC Kaiserslautern shot-stopper as the Ligue 1 giants’ weakest link.

Another reason why Trapp needs to step up over the first half of 2016 is that PSG youth academy graduate and highly rated French goalkeeper Alphonse Areola will be returning from his loan spell with Villarreal CF at the end of this season.

If Trapp cannot recover from his mistakes this campaign, the 22-year-old from Paris could realistically return to his home city in a strong position to immediately take over the starting role at the expense of the error-prone German.

Paris Saint-Germain's German goalkeeper Kevin Trapp reacts at the end of the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on September 11, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE        (Photo cred
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Trapp has the ability to be PSG’s starting goalkeeper and Blanc’s faith in his signing from last summer is not unfounded, but the man from Merzig’s confidence has taken a few heavy blows so far.

He now needs to put these behind him and respond on the pitch with some assured performances in the next few weeks so that the French press and opposing support are not baying for another soul-destroying gaffe.


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