Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the signing of Leandro Paredes, who has joined the club from Zenit St. Petersburg on a four-and-a-half-year contract.
Paredes becomes PSG's first signing of the winter transfer window, and the Argentina international has moved to France after an 18-month spell in the Russian Premier League:
The 24-year-old spoke to PSG's official website on Tuesday upon arriving at the Parc des Prices and spoke of his pride at having joined such a respected club:
"I'm very proud to be joining Paris Saint-Germain, said Leandro Paredes on signing his contract. After my previous experiences in Italy and Russia, I now have this fantastic opportunity, not only to discover a new league, but above all one to wear one the most prestigious club jerseys in the world. I'd like to thank the chairman and the coach for the confidence they have shown in me by signing me.
"We all know the extraordinary sporting dimension of Paris Saint-Germain, its players and staff. I share the same high ambitions and I will do everything I can to give my club what it expects of me as a midfielder. I also look forward to the passionate atmosphere of the Parc des Princes, as I grew up with football fever in Argentina.”
PSG are scheduled to face Manchester United in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, and Paredes will be free to offer his new side another option in midfield ahead of that encounter. The UEFA Champions League Twitter account gave a taste of what could be facing the Reds Devils:
Football writer Lars Pollmann backed the move as a sensible one for Ligue 1's defending champions:
Les Parisiens needed to strengthen their midfield, especially as Adrien Rabiot approaches the end of his contract in the capital. L'Equipe (h/t TalkSport) recently reported a summer move to Barcelona or Liverpool could be in the offing for the Frenchman, while Lassana Diarra's contract also expires in June.
Paredes is a similar asset to Rabiot and pulls the strings from deep in midfield while offering a physical presence, something that's likely to work to his advantage in France's top flight.
PSG were joined by Chelsea in their reported interest in Paredes, although ESPN FC's Liam Twomey argued there was perhaps a silver lining to the Blues missing out:
PSG chief executive officer Nasser Al-Khelaifi also spoke highly of Paredes following confirmation of his move:
"We are very happy to welcome Leandro Paredes into the Paris Saint-Germain family today. Leandro brings with him the traditional strengths of Argentinian football- a fighting spirit and excellent technical skills. He will bring a lot to our midfield and I am sure he will fit quickly into our coach's well-organised and ambitious team. Leandro's arrival will keep the momentum, both on the pitch and among our supporters, ahead of the major events coming up. Exciting times lie ahead.”
The club's next fixture is a trip to Lyon in Ligue 1 on Sunday, when the Argentinian could make his PSG debut.