Angel Di Maria and a number of other fringe Paris Saint-Germain players may leave the Parc des Princes in January.
The mega-money signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – initially on loan but with a commitment to pay Monaco 180 million euros to make the deal permanent next summer – mean the likes of Di Maria, Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore are all struggling for game time under Unai Emery as the two new boys form a deadly front three with last season’s top scorer Edinson Cavani.
Barcelona in for Di Maria?
Barcelona were reportedly keen on signing the Argentine in the summer as they attempted to bolster their attacking options following the controversial exit of Neymar. But the Catalans were unwilling to pay more than £27 million for a player PSG signed from Manchester United for £44.3 million back in 2015.
With the current staggering levels of spending by Europe’s top clubs, no wonder PSG rejected the offer. In a market where £34 million buys you Antonio Rudiger, £27 million seemed a gross under evaluation, even when you take into consideration that PSG needed to offload players to comply with Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
It may be that Barcelona come back in with an increased offer in January, especially with the news that Lionel Messi asked the club’s top brass to sign his international team-mate in the summer. What Messi wants, Messi generally gets, but it remains to be seen how accurate these reports are.
The Catalans were apparently willing to pay Di Maria 10 million euros a season, which would have put him behind only Messi and Luis Suarez in the earners list. A move to Camp Nou would surely appeal to Di Maria, who spent probably the best years of his career in La Liga with deadly rivals Real Madrid.
There have also been reports that PSG may sell him to the Chinese Super League but, salary apart, quite how appealing the player would find such a move is up for debate.
There was also the odd whisper surrounding Tottenham in the summer and Di Maria could fit the Spurs system well. Perhaps Mauricio Pochettino will go in for his compatriot come January to add more pep to the Spurs attack.
Moura and Pastore
While Di Maria has started four games for PSG this season, Moura and Pastore have not fared as well and have not been too much of a factor in betting on live games. Moura has come off the bench just twice so far, while Pastore has started only two games himself, although he has also been plagued by a calf injury.
Former PSG defender Alex recently suggested that his countryman Moura should join Arsenal. Lucas reacted to this by insisting that he wished to fight for his place at PSG but unless key personnel get injured, it is difficult to envisage Moura featuring regularly aside from outings in the two cup competitions.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has refused to rule out selling Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in January and Moura may fit the bill as one of the potential replacements. At 25, he still has the best years of his career to come which would make him an appealing prospect.
Pastore has reportedly been told by the club that he can leave for just £26 million, which would appear to suggest that they don’t hold him in anywhere near the same regard as Di Maria. Chelsea and Liverpool are the two clubs being linked, along with rumours of interest from Inter Milan.
Julian Draxler was only signed from Wolfsburg in January and is thought to be a key part of the club’s plans, so it would be a surprise if he were to leave just a year on.
Spanish daily El Pais reported last month that Uefa had told PSG to sell eight players or risk expulsion from the Champions League after complaints from Juventus, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich among others that the club had broken FFP regulations. Two were offloaded in the form of Serge Aurier and Blaise Matuidi, but others will surely leave in January.
Expect winger Hatem Ben Arfa to move on as well as goalkeeper Kevin Trapp as PSG clear out some of the fringe players and remain on the right side of the FFP regulations.