resolve the future of Mbappé, replace Pochettino and renew a disappointing squad

ESPN’s behind-the-scenes report details the delicate situation facing the club ahead of the upcoming transfer window in Europe

Maybe this is the kind of summer that Paris Saint-Germain really needs. After a disappointing season in which he regained the title of the Ligue 1but fell apart against Real Madrid in the Round of 16 of the Champions League and was eliminated from the Coupe de France at home by Nicethe Parisian team has reached an uncomfortable crossroads.

Some things have to change.

Qatar Sports Investment bought the club 11 years ago and has achieved a lot since he took over: they have lifted many trophies (eight of the last 10 league titles, six French Cups, six League Cups), many great players have passed (Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Ángel Di María, Lionel Messi), the incredible rise of the PSG brand and much more. But there are, in a sense, many disappointments: the lack of success in the Champions League (only two semi-final appearances in 10 seasons), the constant turnover of managers (Laurent Blanc, Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel) and the difficult relationship at times between the club and its ultras, to name a few.

It seems that now is a good time for those in charge to take decisive action and put the club on a more consistent and positive path. It could be an automatic transition if Mbappé decides to leave and join the real Madrid. PSG are still optimistic that they can keep their star a bit longer, but they could certainly lose him as well. His contract expires at the end of June and, although he has had positive conversations with the club’s directors, it has not gone unnoticed that he was in Madrid this week with his teammates (and all former players of the real Madrid) Achraf Hakimi, Keylor Navas and Sergio Ramos.

If it ends up sticking around, great: it’ll be the centerpiece they build around. However, if he does go, they will need another top signing and someone to lead the next phase of this project, something neither Lionel Messi nor Neymar can really do as they approach the end of their careers. Erling Haaland is no longer an option as he has agreed to join Manchester City on July 1, sources told ESPN what Robert Lewandowski (who wants to leave Bayern Munich) and Mohamed Salah (whose negotiations for a new contract at Liverpool are not really progressing) would be on PSG’s radar if Mbappe makes it to LaLiga.

It is clear, of course, that Lionel Messi and Neymar they will stay The Argentine star needed time to adapt to a new life, a new club, a new football and a different role -being more creative, less goalscoring-, but the expectations in the club are that his second season should be better than the first.

For the Brazilian, it is another story. He is finishing the season well, with eight goals in his last eight games (all competitions), but has been too disappointing for most of the season. The PSG I would probably listen to offers for it, but it is unlikely that they will receive interesting offers.

bouquets will also remain in the squad next season, while the option to purchase Nuno Mendes (60 million euros) has been activated and will complete its definitive purchase. midfielder Marco Verratti he’s not going anywhere either, while sources told ESPN that right back Hakimi is happy in Paris and doesn’t want to leave. Georginio Wijnaldum he should get another chance in the 2022-23 campaign despite some frustrations over his supporting role earlier in the season.

As for the new signings to strengthen this squad and make it competitive in Europe, PSG have some goals in mind.

Aurelien Tchouameni would be the perfect candidate to renew his midfield, but the child prodigy of Monaco, which would cost around 60 million euros, would not be the first option. Nevertheless, Paul Pogbawho is a free agent once his contract with the Man Utd in late June is more likely, and sources told ESPN that talks are progressing well. The French star is definitely looking forward to returning to Paris, where she grew up. PSG have already had many conversations with Ousmane Dembélé’s agent about the possible arrival of the winger Barcelonawho also ends his contract in the summer.

Arnaut Danjuma is another name of interest. The Dutch striker has impressed in the Villarreal and he has the right age (25 years) and the right profile to strengthen the team, especially if Mbappé and/or leave Mauro Icardi. PSG also need depth at right back and Nordi Mukielewho ends the contract in Leipzig next summer, is one of his goals, according to sources revealed to ESPN. He was born and raised in Paris, and has always aspired to one day play for the club.

However, the most important business this summer will be player departures. LeonardPSG’s sporting director, is not as good at selling players as he is at signing them, and while rumors circulate of his own departure before the window opens, it remains vital that the club can make some money back by cutting the squad.

The extreme Angel Di Maria will leave once his contract expires in June, while players like Julian Draxler and Keylor Navas (both linked to the club until June 2024) will probably leave to get more playing time heading into the 2022 World Cup. It could also be the same situation for Senegalese defender Abdou Diallo, while the club is desperate to find new clubs for full-backs. Layvin Kurzawa and Colin Dagba. Young Edouard Michut and Junior Dina Ebimbe they will also leave due to a lack of first-team opportunities.

midfielder Leandro Paredes He is out of contract in 2023 and is drawing interest from teams in Italy. The defender Thilo Kehrer he is in the same position, with a return to Germany (he was at Schalke from 2016 to 2018). There is also a question mark over the midfielder’s future. Idrissa Gueye, who only has one year left on his current contract. Among the ranks of attackers, it is not clear what will happen to Icardi. The Argentine has had a poor year: just 13 starts, five goals and no assists in all competitions this season, but he still has two years left at the club. The club will listen to offers, but sources told ESPN they don’t anticipate much interest in the 29-year-old.

Finally, a decision must be made about the coach and the athletic director.

For Mauricio Pochettino, it is unknown if he will remain on the bench after failing to lead this team to glory in Europe. However, if PSG can’t find a suitable replacement – or can’t convince Zinedine Zidane– to take over, and get nowhere with Antonio Conte, Diego Simeone or Joachim Low– so Pochettino could stay, almost “default”. He still has a year left on his contract, but he has told the staff that he will not fulfill it if he does not have more control at the club, including the construction of the first team, and if he cannot impose more of his ideas, including those related to discipline. of the player.

All of the above leads to the sports director, Leonard, and his future at the club. The Brazilian is a skilled communicator and is doing everything he can right now, in private and in public, to keep his job. If he were to be fired, something that seemed likely a few weeks ago after the Champions Leaguethe PSG is a big fan of Andrea Berthathe sports director of Atletico MadridY Michael Edwardspreviously in Liverpoolis also of interest, sources tell ESPN.

However, the biggest problem Leonard the thing is Pochettino is unwilling to continue working with him and reportedly Zidane either. So he could still leave after the end of the season.

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