PSG: A New Era of Hunger and Determination


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By. Patrick Smietanka


Paris Saint Germain has been a relatively exciting club throughout its history due to the lavish signings, and dominant performances that arrive from the French capital club. Every summer that comes around, the French Giants bring huge names that make headlines and threaten clubs all across Europe. In a squad that holders a defence consisting of Marquinhos, Presnel Kimpembe and Keylor Navas; a midfield that pulls the strings with Marco Verrati, Leandro Parades, and Ander Herrera; and an attack that’s one of the best in the world with Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr, and Angel Di Maria, it’s safe to say PSG have an unbelievable plethora of talent across the pitch. All that talent sometimes doesn’t translate on the field, however. Last season was a wake-up call for the Parisians, finishing second in Ligue 1 to Lille OSC and getting knocked out of the Champions League in the semi-finals to Manchester City. Changes would need to be made to solidify their dominance this upcoming season, and those changes look frightening…


Last summer, PSG signings were just enough to bolster their depth and seemingly looked to maintain the same first-team squad. Names such as Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi, A.S. Roma’s Allesandro Florenzi, Everton’s Moise Kean and FC Porto’s Danilo Pereira looked promising to say the least. This season though, the heat has turned up. To start with the first unconventional position, a newly appointed manager, Mauricio Pochetino was brought in during last season’s winter transfer window. The Argentinian maestro spent 5 years at Tottenham Hotspurs in the premier league until his sacking in 2019. Comparing Tottenham and PSG is a little unorthodox but what it tells us is Poch knows his way around difficult matches and quick aggressive counter-attacking build up with the likes of Heung Min Son, Lucas Moura, and Harry Kane. So far, Pochetino has managed 34 games for PSG and maintained a 2.21 points per match ratio in the process. Although he's never won a title for Tottenham, he’s brought them to a Champions League final and finished within the top 4 in the 5 seasons he’s coached them, including a second-place finish in the 2016-17 season. Big trophies were in his grasp but the talent lacked slightly, moving to the present day, with the squad he's got, along with some new stars to work with, a potential successful Champions League run may look more realistic than previous years.


Now how could a squad with so much talent get even better, well PSG has answered that question with brilliant free-agent deals and spending the money where it’s truly worth it. Currently, with the 5 big signings they’ve made we have ranked them based in consideration with worth, talent, and reliability for their squad:


5. Danilo Pereira

Technically not a ‘new’ signing, Danilo Pereira was loaned from FC Porto to PSG last summer for a single-season loan. He played 45 games in all competitions and played a mix between central defensive midfield or center back. Regardless, the Portuguese holding midfielder played consistently and proved important for a position that PSG could not fill with anyone else. His strength, passing ability, and tackling dependence makes him a consistent option that helps stop opposing play to start counter-attacking brilliance. The French club purchased him permanently for a fee of only $17.6 million, a player they can already count on and has even proven himself in Euros.


4. Georgino Wijnaldum

Another midfield signing, this time on a free transfer from Liverpool, Georgino Wijnaldum has been part of the star-stunning Liverpool side that has been one of the best clubs in Europe for the past few seasons now. A late bloomer, the 30-year-old finished his contract with the Merseyside to find new adventures in France. Linked to clubs such as Bayern Munich and FC Barcelona, Wijnaldum chose PSG to win it all this upcoming season. The box-to-box midfielder brings pace, passing, defending, constant stamina, and surprising finishing ability to that already star-studded midfield. Wijnaldum will have to fight for his spot though, with a similar style of play to Ander Herrera and Leandro Parades, a first-team spot won’t be easy but with his talent and determination, Gini will be an important player for Paris this season.


3. Gianluigi Donnaruma

Many now know the name Gianluigi Donnaruma, after an amazing Euro 2020 campaign, the Italian giant helped bring Italy to a Euro trophy with his wonderful penalty-saving heroics in the final game against England. As for club level, the Italian shot-stopper played 215 games for AC Milan, the club that took him in at 14 years old and debuted for the first team at only 16 years old. Maturing into first-team football at such a young age, Donnaruma became the youngest goalkeeper ever to appear for Italy a year later at 17 years old, an honourable successor for Italy’s legendary Gianluigi Buffon. Still performing years later, it’s mind-blowing to believe he is only still 22 years old, the 6’5” Donnaruma transferred on a free to PSG shortly after the Euro’s finished. In a squad with ex-Real Madrid Champions league winner, Keylor Navas it is a surprising inclusion but a very bold one nonetheless. Either goalkeeper could do a great job in net but one thing is for sure, with a contract lasting until 2026, Donnaruma is going to be the key for PSG’s future endeavours.


2. Achraf Hakimi

The most expensive signing this summer, Achraf Hakimi is making his way from Inter Milan to PSG for a staggering $66 million. The Morrocan right-wingback has had quite a journey from club to club in the past few seasons but maintaining a popular show of attacking prouise and defensive consistency. Shaping from the Real Madrid academy, Hakimi has played an important part for Borussia Dortmund and last season’s Inter Milan, breaking Juventus’ streak of title-winning Scudetto’s. The versatile winger can play both right-back and left-back but also play more forward in a right midfielder role as well. His blistering pace allows him to have an edge on attackers and his crossing ability lets him get involved in the attack too. After Thomas Meunier transferred to Borussia Dortmund last summer, Colin Dagba was the main candidate for Right back. Having 22-year-old Hakimi in this side, PSG’s defensive troubles and fast counter-attacking play will only benefit both parties of the player and the team. A great signing that has plenty of potential to become even better, that price tag is hefty but looks more than justifiable.


1. Sergio Ramos

Arguably one of the best defenders ever in football, the decorated Sergio Ramos has run up his contract at Real Madrid to transfer to PSG. A statement many football fans would never believe, the ex-Real Madrid Captain, has been such an influential player for club and country alike. The Spaniard has 1 world cup, 2 Euro trophies, 4 Champions leagues, 5 Spanish League trophies, just to say the least, he’s won everything there is to win in football so Ramos looks onward for a new challenge. Last season PSG sold one of their leading defenders Thiago Silva, quite a gap was left in that defence but it’s been certainly filled now. Now 35 years old, Sergio Ramos had a difficult injury to deal with that ruled him out of the Euro 2020 tournament, that hasn’t stopped him yet though. In a particularly young squad, Sergio Ramos’ experience and leadership should excite PSG fans as his remarkable defending ability, heading accuracy, and passing composure will hopefully strengthen that unpredictable defence of recent years. A role model for many, Sergio Ramos is a brilliant signing even at his considerably matured age, a free transfer that, if staying fit, will be the winning factor that PSG has been missing.


From the day this article is being posted, the transfer window is yet to close. PSG still have plenty of time to sign more stars, one of those names being spoken about is a particular free agent Lionel Messi, although just rumours as of now the French giants are prone to stun the footballing world. Despite all that rumour talk, their current form in their friendlies looks promising, PSG has looked toward their winning ways once again, coming out with 3 wins and 2 draws in their 5 games. Pochetino will look to start the season on the strong foot with all of his new signings. A new age of PSG looks to be among us, will they repeat their reluctant form of last season or will they finally prove themselves against Europe’s giants? Catch them in their first competitive match on August 7th against newly promoted Troyes in the Ligue 1.