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Nasser Al Khelaifi: “It is time for change.”

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Le Parisien, PSG President Nasser Al Khelaifi has admitted that everyone’s future is on the line and that this summer is the time for change. Highlights.

On the 2015/16 campaign:

Honestly, I think that we have failed our season despite the new national trophies. We did not reach our European aims, so it was a bad season. I have been here for five years and this is the first time I feel that this was a failure.

It is not simply the fact that we lost in the Quarter Finals of the Champions League that makes me say this, it is the way in which it happened. I am very disappointed. We were not ready mentally and we are responsible, me first.

I did not feel that pressure before the matches against Manchester City. It was completely different for Chelsea: the players were nervous, hungry, ready. I did not see that against Manchester City.

This elimination is the worst moment since I have been at PSG. It is still very difficult to accept.

On Laurent Blanc:

I have supported him for three years. Now, we need to think about what we are going to do next season to build a stronger squad on a European level. I repeat it, it is the first time that we fail and I have to ask questions.

Do I have to change the way we manage? Do I have to change people? Do I have to change the players? I am thinking and big changes could come.

I will not speak today about individual cases. Big changes will happen, a new cycle will begin, you will see. In any case, if we continue like this on every level, we will not get to where we want to be.

On a possible return for Leonardo:

As you know, I have a very good relationship with him. We speak often, he is a man of great quality, an excellent Sporting Director who brought us a lot. Who knows? One day maybe but, for the moment, he is not part of the project.

I will think about how to organise the club. We will see. Olivier Létang is doing good work, he has built a network in recent years, he has gained experience and I have confidence in him.

You know, we can want to change, to evolve, but one thing will never change, the fact that I protect the people who work around me. The staff, the players, those on the payroll, we are a family.

On Serge Aurier:

He was placed in police custody, but we still don’t really know what happened… We will wait for the judgement on September 26th… If he had done nothing wrong and we sold him, I would feel guilty. He will not leave PSG this summer.

On Atletico Madrid:

I have great respect for Atletico, the club, the team, the fans. They all have a lot of motivation, they deserved to be in the final. It is the second time in three years and that is not by accident.

On who will replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic:

I sometimes think that the media does not see things clearly. We have a striker, an incredible striker. Cavani is one of the best in the world. Look at his goals throughout his career. Cavani up front is one of the best in his position. Why look elsewhere?

Is he a world star like Zlatan? That is one of the changes we are making to our project. We are going to sign players who bring more to the team. At the beginning, we needed players to develop our image. Today, thanks to them, PSG is known throughout the world.

Like each year, we are looking for players who will help the team and allow us to go to the next level on the pitch. We need players who are ready to die for the club and for this shirt.

On failing to sign a Neymar or a Ronaldo:

What you are saying is not true and, if one day, we win the Champions League, I will tell you a secret.

On Hatem Ben Arfa:

He is a great French football player. He has grown up a lot mentally, he has a lot of talent and lots of qualities. Some people can ask if he can play for a big club. For me, yes I can. You are going to ask me if we are going to sign him. I will not say yes, I will not say no. I will tell you simply that he is an option. There are others.

 

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