PSG may need cover for Verratti and Pastore but Blanc could be quiet
With the transfer window upon us, here's a look at what to expect from Paris St-Germain.
Will Laurent Blanc be busy in the transfer market?
Unbeaten domestically -- in Ligue 1 and club record-breaking style -- the only blemish on Paris Saint-Germain's first half of the 2015-16 season was the 1-0 defeat away at Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Apart from that, Laurent Blanc's men have been impressive. The French champions are doing everything to build up the biggest possible lead in Le Championnat ahead of the return of continental competition in February, so they can focus on disposing of Chelsea in the round of 16 en route to at least the semifinals.
On the face of it, with big summer signing Angel Di Maria already in great form and the squad largely settled and accepting of Blanc's effective rotation policy, there is no pressing need for potentially unsettling January business.
What do PSG need?
Heading into January, nothing immediately sticks out. There are no abject performers in the squad right now and there are no glaring areas where greater depth is required. However, there are still one or two areas of concern for Blanc and they could be addressed with shrewd January business.
Firstly, goalkeeper Kevin Trapp's series of mistakes over the first part of the season will be playing on Le President's mind. PSG's summer signing has not been poor, far from it at times, but he has made some silly errors and one of them -- in November's 1-0 loss away at Real -- proved more costly than the others.
Blanc is unlikely to move for a new goalkeeper during the transfer window, but his feelings on Trapp's displays could influence whether former starting shot-stopper Salvatore Sirigu or perennial reserve Nicolas Douchez are allowed to move.
Outside the goalkeeper situation, Marco Verratti's and Javier Pastore's recent injuries exposed PSG's limited amount of creativity.
Although rare for both the Italian and the Argentinian to be unavailable at the same time, as well as the fact that the capital club still have Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Di Maria to create chances, Les Parisiens could use another inventive player in the middle.
The inefficiency of PSG's front three in big games, such as the doubleheader against Real, is also a concern. However, it is highly unlikely Edinson Cavani or Ibrahimovic will move in January, so the French tactician must resolve that with his current players.
If PSG are to make any winter moves, it will probably be to replace peripheral figures and not key ones.
A January move for Lille OSC's versatile attacking talent Sofiane Boufal has been touted in the French press, while Stade Rennais' Paul-Georges Ntep has also been linked with a move to Parc des Princes recently.
However, the potential arrival of either player depends on Ezequiel Lavezzi's Paris future. Boufal and Ntep can both play a variety of roles, but they are best in the left attacking position El Pocho plays.
The Argentina international could leave this winter, but it is equally possible he finishes his contract and leaves for nothing in the summer. The latter option is the most likely outcome, so any January Boufal or Ntep move would probably see the talented youngsters loaned back to their current clubs for the rest of the season.
The dual injury blow to Verratti and Pastore in November exposed a slight lack of creative depth in central midfield. The best move PSG could make in January would be for an inventive midfielder to add depth in this area.
The Ligue 1 leaders saw Shakhtar Donetsk's Alex Teixeira up close when they faced Mircea Lucescu's side twice in Group A of the Champions League and the Brazilian recently linked himself with a move to Paris.
In November, Teixeira confirmed to Lance! that PSG, Chelsea and Juventus have made an offer to his Ukrainian employers. Unfortunately for Les Parisiens, the 25-year-old also revealed that he has been told a move is not possible until next summer.
With that in mind -- not to mention the January 2014 panic buy of flop Yohan Cabaye for big money -- the French champions are better off waiting patiently until Verratti and Pastore are fully fit again.
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Lavezzi is the most likely member of the PSG squad to leave this winter. However, considering the difficulties in replacing him and the probable high cost of a January replacement, the French capital outfit should decide to keep him until his contract expires next summer.
Rarely used this season and not in the best shape, the 30-year-old still offers plenty of experience and a burst of pace from the bench though. Lavezzi is also a popular member of the squad and keeping him in Paris until the end of the season will avoid disturbing a settled and focused group.
Granting valuable loan moves for youth academy graduates like Jean-Kevin Augustin, Hervin Ongenda, Presnel Kimpembe and even Christopher Nkunku would be more constructive.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.