Paris Saint-Germain have dominated Ligue 1 for years, but are yet to make any real progress in the Champions League. With the financial pulling power of the club and the talented squad already at the manager’s disposal, there has always been a sense that the French champions should be achieving more. This is why Laurent Blanc was sacked at the end of the 2015-16 season.
The club’s owner, Nasser Al-Khelaifa, will be hoping that Unai Emery, the new manager, can guide PSG to new heights and claim the Holy Grail of European football. But now that their superstar striker, Zlatan Ibrahimović, has moved on to pastures new, do the French giants have what it takes to join the European elite, or have they just taken one step in the wrong direction?
Perhaps not, as Emery has moved swiftly in the transfer window to acquire a couple of attacking reinforcements to make up for the loss of the enormous Swede. One of these additions is Hatem Ben Arfa, a player who enjoyed an outstanding campaign with Nice last season. Ben Arfa scored 17 goals and got 6 assists in 33 league games in 2015/16, and it was a huge shock when the 29-year-old wasn’t named in Didier Deschamps’s squad for Euro 2016.
Although France had headed the international football betting going into the tournament, they lost out to Portugal in the final. The extra attacking spark that Ben Arfa would have provided could have led to an entirely different outcome. Even with Ben Arfa’s prolific output, Nice finished fourth last season, 30 points behind Laurent Blanc’s side, and there is the feeling that the former Newcastle United forward can achieve his best ever attacking returns in an outfit as proficient as PSG’s.
Jese Rodriguez from Real Madrid appears to be a shrewd purchase as well. The Spaniard had struggled for game time at the Santiago Bernabeu, as he was competing with Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and James Rodriguez for a place in the starting XI. The 23-year-old has undeniable ability and potential, and given the chance to rack up more game time, could make a mockery of his rumoured €25million price tag.
Emery has also enlisted the services of Grzegorz Krychowiak to bolster the midfield further. The Poland midfielder showed just how capable he was in the Euros and was listed as one of the players of the tournament in the Daily Telegraph.