Willy Sagnol Criticises PSG Transfer Policy amid Ander Herrera Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 24, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Ander Herrera of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Manchester United (Man U) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at Old Trafford stadium on February 12, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Willy Sagnol is not impressed by Paris Saint-Germain's transfer policy in light of rumours the Ligue 1 giants are keen on signing Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera.

Sagnol told RMC (h/t Metro) that Herrera "is no better" than Leandro Paredes, a PSG recruit in January: "He's the same kind of player, and they are not the ones who make you go through stages. If you want to be a big club and win the Champions League, you need big players. You need a general in the middle."

Paredes was acquired from Zenit St. Petersburg in a deal worth an initial £34.7 million. It's a transfer that's left former France international and Bayern Munich full-back Sagnol bemused: "Me, I continue to say today, I do not know why they paid €50 million for Paredes. For me, he’s still an enigma."

It's hard to disagree with the sentiment behind Sagnol's words, even if United still have strong motivation and a good chance of keeping former Athletic Bilbao ace Herrera in Manchester.

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Highly possible that Ander Herrera is using PSG as a stalking horse to get a better deal from Manchester United than they are currently offering, but Les Parisiens are confident. https://t.co/Wl1paffYCd

Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning

If Manchester United let Ander Herrera walk then they are making one massive mistake. Won't find another CM with the same desire and passion for the club as him.

PSG are said to view the 29-year-old Herrera, whose contract with United is up this summer, "as a relatively low-cost midfield option," according to James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph.

A club with PSG's ample financial resources settling for "low-cost" options is difficult to understand. The disparity is even tougher to take for a club on a mission to finally make the grade in the UEFA Champions League.

Sagnol isn't impressed by PSG's pursuit of Herrera.
Sagnol isn't impressed by PSG's pursuit of Herrera.AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Failures in Europe's premier club tournament have become common and increasingly embarrassing for Les Parisiens. They blew a 4-0 first-leg lead in the last 16 against Barcelona in 2017, famously losing the return leg 6-1 at the Camp Nou.

As historic as the collapse was, it may not have been as painful as losing out to Herrera and the Red Devils at the same stage this year. PSG won 2-0 at Old Trafford before losing 3-1 in controversial circumstances at the Parc des Princes in early March.

Marcus Rashford hammered in a late penalty after Presnel Kimpembe was judged after video review to have used his hand to block a shot. The defeat prompted immediate recriminations about PSG's ability to win at the highest level.

Jeremy Smith @jeremysmith98

Will be talk of L1 being too easy. Don't buy it. All CL successful regulars have mostly easy domestic seasons. Look at Juve this year. And eg Lyon better than tonight's Utd XI. Simply a mix of arrogance, mental weakness and over-the-hill ex-superstars.

Even so, manager Thomas Tuchel is reportedly set for a contract extension, per Telefoot (h/t Get French Football News).

Tuchel needs to make refreshing his central midfield ranks a priority. Marco Verratti struggled against United, while Lassana Diarra retired during this season.

Those things compound the uncertainty surrounding Adrien Rabiot. The 23-year-old playmaker's deal is up at the end of the campaign, and he's attracting interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and United, per Jake Polden of the Sunday Mirror.

PSG need an infusion of talent in central areas to avoid wasting their marquee talent up front. While the club has shelled out to acquire Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in recent years, the level of investment hasn't been replicated when addressing other areas of the team.

Tuchel's squad could fall into the same trap as Real Madrid's so-called Galacticos, who contained big-name attackers Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham but lacked enough talent behind them.