PSG: The new faces

Ligue 1 Conforama > Interviews
11/08/2016

Inspired by a brilliant Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG stormed to their second consecutive treble last year - but that didn't stopped the Qatari owners from ringing the changes in the close season.

First and foremost, there's a new face in the dugout, with triple Europa League-winning coach Unai Emery replacing Laurent Blanc, despite the Frenchman's claiming 11 trophies in three years.

Emery: 'Continue the good work'

"I'm very happy to join this great club, which has a lot of ambitions," the former Sevilla boss, who is relishing his biggest challenge yet, told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN SPORTS. "I am coming to a new league in which Paris Saint-Germain are the title holders. They are a club that continues to grow and that wants to achieve great things in Europe."

PSG were certainly no slouches under former boss Laurent Blanc, bagging consecutive domestic quadruples, and Emery is aware that he is building on something strong rather than re-building the team.

"I want to continue the good work that has already been done while bringing my ideas and my personality to the table too. I want to forge a team that's aggressive; I want a team with a real identity," he explained. "Slowly but surely I will immerse myself in French culture and I will get to know this magnificent city, which is very popular in Spain."

Jesé: 'Win together'

The 44-year-old Basque coach wasted no time in adding five new faces to PSG's star-studded squad. Joining him in swapping La Liga for Ligue 1 is double Champions League winner Jesé Rodriguez, who arrives from Real Madrid to bolster the Parisian attack.

"I'm not here to take anybody's place in particular," said the Real Madrid youth academy product. "If I am competing for a starting spot with (Edinson) Cavani, I'm also doing so with (Hatem) Ben Arfa, with Lucas, (Javier) Pastore or even (Angel) Di Maria. But we must win together, and not fight individual battles."

Ben Arfa's homecoming

After scoring 17 goals with Nice last season, there was a heartfelt return to the French capital for Paris-born forward Hatem Ben Arfa.

"This club has been in my heart since I was a kid. I have always been a Paris Saint-Germain fan," said the uber-talented forward. "Nowadays that same club has big ambitions, so those factors made me want to join this club."

Krychowiak's French connection

Following Unai Emery from Sevilla is 26-year-old Poland international Grzegorz Krychowiak, who returns to Ligue 1 where he impressed with Reims.

"I have spent much of my life in France, 8 or 9 years in fact, so I want to continue," said the hardy midfielder, who came up through the ranks at Bordeaux and spent a season on loan with Nantes in Ligue 2 before switching to Reims. "It means a lot to me because I forged my career here and I also became a man here."

After loan spells at Lens, Bastia and Villarreal, goalkeeper Alphonse Areola will compete for the number 1 jersey with Kevin Trapp at the club he first joined as a 13-year-old.

"It's a great feeling to be back at home," said the talented glovesman. "I've been away for three years now so coming back here is a feeling like no other!"

Meunier: 'One of Europe's top five clubs'

Belgium defender Thomas Meunier will also be battling to impress Emery after signing from Club Bruges.

"In life you have to make choices," reasoned the Belgian, who impressed with his scoring capacities in PSG's pre-season International Champions Cup matches against the likes of Inter, Real Madrid and Leicester. "The main thing is to make those without regrets and I simply couldn't refuse coming to Paris. It's one of Europe's top five clubs."

The challenge facing Emery's new-look PSG will be to combine domestic dominance with European success - one thing they didn't manage under Blanc.

 

>> COACH PROFILE: Unai Emery

>> SQUAD: Paris Saint-Germain

>> CLUB PROFILE: Paris Saint-Germain

>> TRANSFERS: All the summer moves








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