PSG: Why the Parisians are genuine Champions League favorites

Paris Saint-Germain have recently smashed world transfer records in signing Brazilian superstar forward Neymar Jnr for approximately 211 million euros.

Not only is this a huge coup for the French team in marketing terms, but he’ll also greatly improve the existing squad.

In fact, it could be argued now that Les Rouge-et-Bleu finally have a great chance of winning their first European Champions league title.

Why? Lets examine a number of factors.


Neymar adds versatility and pace

The young Brazilian can play both on the wing and as an attacking midfielder, or as a deep lying striker, and his versatility was used to accommodate himself and Barcelona’s other attacking superstars; Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

The superstar also has great dribbling ability with lot of pace, and the French league is a little slower than La Liga.

However, considering Neymar will undoubtedly be the main man now at Paris, he will have his choice in where he wishes to play. Most likely he’ll play in his favoured position; which is a left sided forward.


The squad now has huge strength in depth

Paris Saint-Germain boast many existing attacking weapons. Angel Di Maria and Lucas Moura provide trickery and pace on the flanks, while Marco Verratti is the ingenuity in the middle.

For an out-and-out forward or target man, look no further than Edinson Cavani; one of the most prolific fox in the box poachers in the game today.

In terms of squad depth; PSG are finally able to compete with the top European sides too now. As cover; young German star Julian Draxler can play both as a winger and an attacking midfielder, while former Real Madrid man Jesé is no slouch up front.

Frenchman Adrien Rabiot can operate in a variety of midfield positions, as can Javier Pastore along with midfield veteran and club vice captain Thiago Motta.

At the back, the club have invested in pace and experience in the form of Dani Alves; who despite his age is still one of the world’s best right backs. The centre half Brazilian partnership in club captain Thiago Silva and Marquinhos boast experience, flair and pace. Both of that duo would get into any side in Europe.

Neymar aside; PSG not only boast a squad of quality, but they are all big stars in themselves with a lot of experience too. The Galácticos have a new home now and it is Paris.

It cannot be ignored however, that manager Unai Emery faces a challenge in keeping his stars happy and all playing enough football. Neymar’s introduction could mean less first team action for Draxler, Moura and Di Maria.

European clubs take note, PSG’s biggest obstacle this season could in fact be dressing room harmony.


The domestic French league is less competitive than other top European leagues

This is a criticism of the French league compared with other leagues.

Only Olympique Lyonnais and Monaco can make any challenge to PSG’s dominance, and the rest of the league are just cannon fodder. Not all that dissimilar to La Liga if you really look at it.

But in terms of the Champions league, this is actually a blessing for the French giants. They can afford to rotate and rest stars for Europe and not get caught unstuck in domestic matches.

Such player management is increasingly difficult to do in the more demanding Premiership. In fact, Real Madrid and Barcelona have had that luxury for years; since they can beat most Spanish sides with their second string eleven.

It’s no surprise the Spanish teams have dominated Europe in recent years partly due to this and their winter break.


An emerging managerial talent

Manager Unai Emeri is an emerging coach in Europe’s top table.

He is no stranger to big titles either, having won three consecutive Europa League trophies with Sevilla. That is no mean achievement consider the grueling Thursday night timetabling of the competition.

In his first season with PSG last year, Emeri won a domestic treble. It’s clear - this guy is no novice and he knows how to win.

Historically, Paris Saint-Germain’s best campaign in the Champions League have brought them to the semi final back in 1995, but in recent times they’ve failed to get past the quarter-finals.

A certain FC Barcelona foiled them on more than one occasion. Now Les Parisians have a bigger squad and a Barca old boy to boot; that could be the key to them making a major European breakthrough this season.


Written by Nicholas Behan

Follow Nicholas on Twitter @NicholasBehan

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