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PSG focus on hectic schedule after window closes

PSG focus on hectic schedule after window closes

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Publish on 09/02 at 13:55 - A. SCOTT

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Paris Saint-Germain head to FC Nantes on Saturday with half an eye on the start of their UEFA Champions League campaign, and with two Spanish international midfielders freshly arrived in the final hours of the transfer window.

FC Nantes – Paris Saint-Germain Saturday at 21:00 CET (1900 GMT)

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It was not all satisfaction for the Parisians as the summer window closed on Thursday evening without the reigning champions managing to sign the centre-back they had been looking for. Attempts to sign the Slovakian international Milan Škriniar from Inter Milan, which had reportedly gone on all summer, ultimately failed, and no other player arrived to cover that position.

That could present a problem as the campaign goes on, given that there is little cover for Sergio Ramos, Marquinhos and Presnel Kimpembe, and coach Christophe Galtier prefers to play a back three. The only obvious back-up option is Danilo Pereira, who started in Wednesday’s 3-0 win away at Toulouse FC, but Galtier insisted he hopes not to have to change his tactical set-up.

“One of the main qualities of a coach is an ability to adapt to different situations, whether they be injuries, suspensions or anything else,” Galtier said at his pre-game press conference on Friday. “Obviously it is always preferable to stick with a system we have been working on for two months now. It is possible we might need to adapt if we are missing a player, but right now I have no desire to change the way we play.”

Soler follows Fabián Ruiz

PSG have seriously strengthened in midfield over the summer, with the supremely gifted Fabián Ruiz joining from Napoli for a fee upwards of €20 million. Ruiz, who has 15 caps for Spain, was joined on deadline day by his international team-mate Carlos Soler, who signed from Valencia for a similar fee. Those two follow the arrivals earlier in the window of Portuguese international pair Vitinha and Renato Sanches, leaving Galtier with a wealth of options in that department.

Watch Nantes grab draw at Strasbourg

Meanwhile, the capital club saw several players depart in the final hours of the window, with Idrissa Gana Gueye being sold back to former club Everton, while Julian Draxler was loaned to Benfica. Also leaving on loan were Abdou Diallo, to RB Leipzig, and Layvin Kurzawa to Fulham.

“The transfer window is finished which is also a source of relief for all coaches. Now I know who I will be working with and we need to quickly move on from that,” Galtier added. “I have a quality squad of players, as we have seen with the last two who have joined us.”

Second meeting of clubs this season

Saturday’s game is the third in seven days for PSG, who were held 1-1 at home by AS Monaco last Sunday before beating Toulouse 3-0 at Le Stadium in midweek with goals from Neymar Jr, Kylian Mbappé and substitute Juan Bernat. Danilo Pereira and Nordi Mukiele were both handed starts in that match and more squad rotation is expected at the Stade de la Beaujoire, given that Galtier’s side will then start their European campaign with a plum home tie against Juventus on Tuesday.

“I am satisfied with how we played at Toulouse and with those who came in having not played a lot since the start of the season,” said the former OGC Nice coach. “Obviously there will be changes to the team but not especially with an eye on Tuesday’s game, even if I know it is very important. When you talk about rotation, you always need to send out a strong team.”

Neymar and Mbappé score as PSG win in Toulouse

PSG lost 3-1 when they last visited Nantes in February, although they gained a measure of revenge by winning 4-0 when the sides clashed in the Trophée des Champions in Israel at the end of July. They have since gone unbeaten through their opening five Ligue 1 Uber Eats games, with four wins and a draw, not to mention 21 goals scored.

Nantes add Ganago

Meanwhile, Nantes have recovered from that defeat in Tel Aviv to enjoy a respectable start to the league campaign, with their only defeat a narrow 2-1 loss away to Olympique de Marseille. However, a 3-1 victory at home to Toulouse last weekend is their only win so far. They followed that by drawing 1-1 away to RC Strasbourg Alsace at the Stade de la Meinau in midweek, with Egyptian international Mostafa Mohamed scoring a late equaliser, his second goal in as many games.

“It was a precious and well deserved point,” said coach Antoine Kombouaré, who saw one new face arrive just before the transfer deadline in the shape of Cameroon international forward Ignatius Ganago, signed from RC Lens for a reported €3.5 million plus bonuses.

This will be a final outing for Les Canaris before they begin their UEFA Europa League campaign with a home clash against Greek champions Olympiacos on Thursday.

Probable teams

Nantes: Lafont; Fabio, Castelletto, Girotto, Pallois, Appiah; Blas, Chirivella, Moutoussamy, Simon; Ganago

 

PSG: Donnarumma; Danilo, Marquinhos, Kimpembe; Mukiele, Vitinha, Verratti, Bernat; Messi; Mbappé, Neymar

>> TRANSFERS: Deadline day madness