Things are tumultuous at Paris Saint-Germain, to say the least, and new head coach Luis Enrique has a task on his hands to prepare the squad for the next season. Not only did Lionel Messi depart the club after not signing a contract extension, but the French Club’s relationship with star-man Kylian Mbappe also seems to go sour with each passing day.
Mbappe has a year left on his contract, after which he can leave the club as a free agent, with Real Madrid being his preferred destination according to reports. PSG however, do not want to lose its marquee player for free, who cost the club 180 million Euros when he was signed from Monaco in 2018.
While Mbappe remains adamant about not signing a contract extension, club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said that the club would not let him leave for free and said “must sign a new contract” if he wants to remain at the club next season or get sold in the summer transfer window.
There have also been reports of Mbappe being benched for the entire 2023-24 season if he does not sign a contract extension.
To add to PSG’s woes, sources have said that Brazilian forward Neymar is also keen on leaving the French club in the summer. Losing Messi, Mbappe and Neymar in one window - talk about being in hot waters. And if that is not enough, veteran centre-back Sergio Ramos also announced his departure from the club.
Amidst the transfer drama, it is easy to ignore the investments PSG made to strengthen its squad for next season and continue its search for that elusive Champions League trophy.
Player signings to watch out for PSG in 2023-24 season
The French champion has roped in players like Milan Skriniar and Marco Asensio on free transfers while shelling out 60 million Euros to sign Uruguay’s Manuel Ugarte from Sporting Lisbon, Lucas Hernandez from Bayern Munich for a reported 40 million Euros, Goncalo Ramos from Benfica for 65 million Euros and Ousmane Dembele for 50 million Euros after activating his release clause an Lee Kang-in from Mallorca for 22 million Euros.
Ahead of the 2023-24 season, here is how the PSG team can shape up.
Italy’s Gianluigi Donnarumma will undoubtedly be the first-choice between the sticks for PSG next season. He kept 13 clean sheets in 38 appearances for the Paris club last season. It remains to be seen what steps the club takes with Sergio Rico after the Spaniard suffered an awful injury in a horse riding accident which hospitalised him hours after the historic 11th French title was confirmed in Strasbourg.
Achraf Hakimi, Milan Skriniar, Marquinhos and Lucas Hernandez will be the most likely backline Enrique goes with. With Skrinar and Marquinhos manning the heart of the defence, Hakimi and Hernandez can be expected to move further up the field and contribute to the attack by playing on the role of a modern full-back or a wing-back.
Enrique also has an excellent fullback in Nuno Mendes at his disposal. With the season being a long one, expect a lot of rotation from the Spanish coach.
Marco Verratti is most likely to be the main in the PSG midfield in the upcoming season, with Ugarte being a quality addition with his defensive instincts that can see him play behind the midfield two. In front of Ugarte with Verratti, Fabian Ruiz can be a good addition. While the player was never in the main scheme of things under Galtier, he has shown flashes of being s good player who can function beside Verratti.
Apart from these players, the club has players like Carlos Soler, Warren-Zaire Emery and Vitinha, who can all be good options to have in midfield.
Now this is where the main headache lies for Enrique. With the departure of Messi and the likely exit of Mbappe and Neymar, there is a huge gap that needs to be filled by the French champion.
The French champion has tried to start the process by making significant signings in the forward line. With Marco Asensio, Enrique has his left flank sorted. On the opposite flank will be Ousmane Dembele, who can be frighteningly quick and a lethal winger on his day. However, Enrique should be wary because both his wingers - Asensio and Dembele are injury-prone players.
Playing in the centre would be Ramos, who grabbed eyeballs in the Qatar World Cup after benching Cristiano Ronaldo and scoring a hat-trick. Last season he scored 27 goals in all competitions for Benfica.
PSG Predicted XI
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