It’s fair to say that Paris Saint-Germain have assembled a hugely impressive squad, especially with their eye-catching signings this summer.
To add to the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Ángel di María and Mauro Icardi, head coach Mauricio Pochettino, has been able to spend nearly £70m on two new signings, as well as bring four players in on free transfers – including perhaps the best of them all, Lionel Messi. PSG splashed out £54m for Moroccan right-back, Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan, and £14.4m on defensive midfielder Danilo Pereira from FC Porto.
Free transfers become big business for PSG
However, it is the free transfers that Pochettino has been able to get over the line that are perhaps the most attention-grabbing. Gianluigi Donnarumma, the 22-year-old Italian goalkeeper, has joined from AC Milan, while Georginio Wijnaldum has arrived in Paris from Liverpool.
Sergio Ramos has ended his long association with Real Madrid by agreeing to join the Parisian club. But it is the signing of Barcelona’s maestro Messi which has made the football world stand up and take notice.
Can Messi help to finally deliver the Champions League for PSG?
Messi has vowed to “help build something special” at Paris Saint-Germain after completing his free move from Barcelona. The Argentinian has agreed a two-year contract with PSG and is set to earn a net salary of around €35 million (£29.6m) with his bonuses included.
The 34-year-old made an emotional farewell to Barcelona after spending 21 years at the club, winning countless trophies and is rated as one of the best players to have ever graced to game. Messi will wear the No 30 shirt in Paris and was titled as a ‘new diamond’ on the PSG Twitter page.
Messi said about his arrival in France: “I am excited to begin a new chapter of my career at Paris Saint-Germain. The club and its vision are in perfect harmony with my ambitions.”
He will join up with former Barca teammate Neymar, and will help to form possibly the best attacking line-up in the world alongside Mbappe and Di Maria. The club’s owners, Qatar Sports Investments, are desperate to win the Champions League and with all the new signings and the addition of Messi, they will surely have no better chance. However, that means boss Pochettino has no excuses not to deliver the biggest club prize in the world.
Pressure on Pochettino
Pochettino was appointed as head coach of PSG in January 2021, replacing now Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel. In his first few months he guided the Parisian club to success in the Coupe de France, but they could only finish second behind Lille in Ligue 1.
PSG also made it through to the semi-final stage of the Champions League, but after an impressive first half showing in the Parc des Princes against Manchester City in the first leg of the tie, they ultimately lost both games and another European dream was over.
Now, armed with one of the best squads in the world, the PSG owners and fans will be expecting much better from Pochettino’s first full season in charge.
Regaining the French title, which they had won seven times out of the previous eight seasons, will be one task, but it is delivering European glory which everyone associated with PSG wants and now expects.
The signings have been exciting, but now the pressure is really on for Pochettino. Will he deliver? Some of the leading betting sites certainly think so. BetVictor has Paris at 11/4 favourites, ahead of Manchester City at 7/2. Unibet, meanwhile, has installed Paris as favourites, this time at 3/1, with Man City at 7/2. Betway has the same odds as BetVictor for Paris and Man City, with Chelsea out at 9/1 to retain their Champions League crown.