Thomas Tuchel wants three new players and Paris Saint-Germain are likely to be very active in the transfer market between now and October 5. Ligue1.com looks at the priorities for the Ligue 1 Uber Eats champions.
WHAT THE COACH WANTS
Thomas Tuchel, speaking at a press conference on September 19: "The priorities are clear and we need a forward, a centre-back and a midfielder. We need to replace the players that left; that's the challenge. The squad is getting smaller and smaller and there is a risk of entering into a period of injuries and fatigue. Signing a left-back? We have Layvin Kurzawa, despite his suspension, and Mitchel Bakker and Abdou Diallo. So buying a player for this position isn't a priority for us."
WHAT THE SPORTING DIRECTOR SAYS
Leonardo, speaking to Canal Football Club on September 6: "We need players to leave in order to be able to recruit. All clubs need to sell in order to be able to buy. We have already made an investment in Icardi. We need to be creative for the rest and we must already think about sales. We are not going to sign 10 players. We have priority positions."
WHY THE NEED?
The PSG squad took a hit in the summer with the departures of Edinson Cavani, Thomas Meunier, Adil Aouchiche and Tanguy Kouassi. They were followed out of the capital club by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, Alphonse Areola, Loïc Mbe Soh and club legend Thiago Silva.
The thinness of the PSG squad has been exposed by the recent absences of several players through suspension, injury or because of having contracted coronavirus. Some of those to have exited Tuchel would have liked to have kept with the German saying of Champions League quarter-final hero Choupo-Moting: "He was an important lad for us. He played a major part in our squad because he perfectly knew his role."
SUMMER BUSINESS SO FAR RATED
12 goals in 20 Ligue 1 Uber Eats games on loan at PSG from Inter Milan last season convinced the champions to part with an estimated 50 million euros to make the switch permanent. The Argentinian striker has endured a difficult time since football started up again after the lengthy break due to the coronavirus pandemic and didn't play a single minute of the Champions League semi-final or final. The 27-year-old is visibly short of confidence and has yet to strike in the new Ligue 1 Uber Eats season, spurning two glorious chances against Nice on Sunday. Supporters are missing club record scorer Cavani and Icardi's lack of form places greater pressure on Kylian Mbappé and Neymar.
The Italian international right-back has joined on loan from Roma with an option to buy and impressed with the quality of his crossing on his debut in the Classique defeat to Olympique de Marseille. He didn't get as forward as much against Nice in his second outing and struggled against the pace of Hassane Kamara. Former Roma full-back Vincent Candela told Le Parisien before the Nice game: "I think Paris have done good business. The problem he may have in France is a physical problem up against powerful forwards. He's quite small and not particularly quick."
The Spanish goalkeeper joined on a full-time basis from Sevilla after making a big contribution to PSG's Champions League campaign, coming on for the injured Keylor Navas in the quarter-final and starting the semi-final. He played in the Classique with Navas injured but was unable to keep out Florian Thauvin's winner.
THE POSSIBILITIES: Koulibaly, Alli?
Unsurprisingly PSG are linked with many players every day. Napoli centre-half Kalidou Koulibaly would be a popular choice with fans but given Leonardo's comments earlier this month the Napoli centre-half's price tag could be too onerous. World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez, short of game time at Bayern Munich, has also been mentioned as a possibility.
Tottenham's Dele Alli, the English international attacking midfielder, has been linked with a host of top European clubs after falling out of favour with Jose Mourinho. A loan deal with an option to buy would make a move more attractive. Given the way Thiago Alcantara bossed the Champions League final and the price Liverpool paid to prise him from Bayern, the Spanish international would have been an excellent option.
In attack the challenge is to find a player who will accept being a squad man with as good grace as Choupo-Moting and who will be able to make the same impact given limited opportunities. Identifying the right candidate will not be easy.