L’Équipe report that Paris Saint-Germain’s transfer window this summer has chiefly consisted of a three-man operation involving sporting advisor Luís Campos, president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and Antero Henrique, the former sporting director who has returned to work with the club on an external basis, following the departure of Leonardo at the end of last season.
Campos is the one who speaks with Christophe Galtier to draw up a list of targets, Henrique is then tasked with reaching out to clubs and starting off negotiations. The latter is also in charge of finding an exit door for those on PSG’s transfer list, having been given a list of players by Campos.
The likes of Hugo Ekitike and Vitinha had already been contacted by Campos before his appointment was made official, having explained to the former that PSG were now looking to build around young French players and to the latter how he would progress and be used at the club. Once the players are convinced, Henrique along with the club’s head of legal Grégory Durand begin the contractual side of talks.
One of Henrique’s challenges has been finding ways around the €80m summer transfer budget – for example, by using his good relationship with Porto to see to it that Vitinha’s €41.525m fee would be payable over 6 years. Reims were eventually convinced Ekitike’s future club to accept a loan deal with a permanent clause that would be automatic should PSG finish in the top two.
A similar deal was attempted with Lille for Renato Sanches, to no avail, although Campos had managed to convince his compatriot to come anyway. Henrique took charge of talks over several weeks after agent Jorge Mendes initially reached out to Les Dogues, and looked to put forward several solutions including a move that would see Thierno Baldé (now of Troyes) go the other way. In the end, the clubs agreed on a permanent transfer worth €13m plus €2m in bonuses.
Meanwhile, Nasser Al-Khelaifi notably intervened in the deal to bring Nordi Mukiele back to Ligue 1, thanks to his good relationship with Leipzig’s Oliver Mintzlaff. The club president has less of a tendency to get involved in deals as beforehand, but does dip back in if he feels a deal is not moving as quickly as hoped. For instance, he called up Robert Lewandowski – via Pini Zahavi – before the Pole opted to sign for Barcelona. He nevertheless looks to set up a meeting with new signings before they arrive, although a personal issue meant he could not do so for Hugo Ekitike.
One situation that remains up in the air is that of Inter defender Milan Škriniar – Antero Henrique has reached out multiple times to the Nerazzurri but talks are yet to advance, despite an agreement in place with both defender and agent. It remains to be seen whether the trio will be able to bring in their biggest signing of the summer.