Financial fair play causes change in PSG tactics
UEFA's financial fair play (FFP) sanctions are clearly wreaking havoc with Paris Saint-Germain's ambitious transfer plans this summer, but the upside is that the restrictions are forcing the French champions to think carefully before they make their moves. Having hastily splashed out 50 million pounds already to bring in David Luiz from Chelsea, PSG's hands are tied somewhat with regards to what they can and cannot spend.
They are also aware that they need to sell before buying further. This, of course, is an unfamiliar scenario for PSG's ambitious owners, Qatar Sports Investments (QSI). The club's pursuit of want-away Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria is no real secret, but neither is the fact that PSG are struggling to come up with a way to sidestep the stringent measures put in place by UEFA with their FFP sanctions.
While the Spanish giants are making a mockery of the new rules, though, Ligue 1's titleholders are now being forced to come up with innovative ways to navigate the legislation and continue toward their ultimate goal of UEFA Champions League success.
In order to do that, PSG are embarking upon a process of prioritising and deciding which players they actually need and which ones they just want but could live without.
Understandably, this has been a bit of a shock to the system for a club previously used to getting everything their own way on the transfer market. However, the current situation has its advantages; it will lead the two-time defending French champions to make necessary, meaningful signings, rather than just getting hold of the biggest name on the market at the time, as has been the case in the past.
The perfect example of that is the fact that PSG appear to be making Toulouse right-back Serge Aurier their priority this summer.
To ensure there will be enough space for him in the squad, they are allowing former captain Christophe Jallet to leave for Olympique Lyonnais. The move will see manager Laurent Blanc's side upgraded with a second quality attacking right-back option -- the other being Netherlands international Gregory van der Wiel -- and one with a greater level of potential ability than the Dutchman or departing French international Jallet.
Earlier in the summer, PSG was linked with a move for Barcelona's Dani Alves after the Brazilian reportedly told his compatriots in the French capital that he would be joining them this summer. Following Barca's unsuccessful bid to lure Marquinhos -- one of those fellow South Americans -- to Spain, coupled with Alves' bad spell of form with the Selecao at this summer's FIFA World Cup, PSG's interest in the aging right-back disappeared.
Instead, the Ligue 1 champions are now set to complete the signing of Aurier, who is one of world football's brightest young talents after impressing with Ivory Coast in Brazil.
The 21-year-old would give PSG a player with great potential and plenty of experience in Le Championnat, and he would quickly adapt to the rigours of Champions League football. Aurier would also be a more long-term investment -- because of his young age -- than Alves would have been, outweighing the Brazilian's superior experience.
This process of deciding which players are necessary and which players are expendable luxuries will be an exercise worth undertaking for PSG. It is important because now, more than ever before, president Nasser Al-Khelaifi needs to get this summer's signings absolutely spot-on. If he does not, there is no guarantee -- thanks to FFP's presence -- that the French giants will be able to simply add further to their squad at the end of this coming season. It is now clear there are considerable restraints at work at Parc des Princes.
At least for now, PSG's free-spending days appear to be over, and we will likely see more deals like the innovative loan -- with an obligation to buy later -- that recent reports indicate the club are trying to strike with Real Madrid for Di Maria. Therefore, QSI and Al-Khelaifi need players who can do the job now and in the future, with no margin for error.
If they fail to land the right sort of player this summer and fail to shift out the most inefficient of their highly paid stars, PSG could once again find themselves falling short on the stage that matters the most, Europe, which is this season's main ambition once again.