PSG looking to offload Matuidi, Lucas, Aurier, Ben Arfa, Krychowiak - sources
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain's summer clear-out is underway after sporting director Antero Henrique sanctioned Jese Rodriguez's season-long loan move to Stoke, with sources telling ESPN FC he is planning to shift up to five more faces before the transfer window closes.
The source said Henrique is working hard to find new clubs for Blaise Matuidi, Lucas Moura, Serge Aurier, Hatem Ben Arfa and Grzegorz Krychowiak and has between now and the end of the month to succeed in his mission.
Henrique and his assistant, the recently retired Maxwell, have overseen the arrivals of Neymar, Dani Alves and Yuri Berchiche already this summer and want to add one or two more players to the PSG squad over the next fortnight.
However, in order to do that, they must move on the deadwood in the group, represented by Matuidi, Lucas, Aurier, Ben Arfa and Krychowiak.
Aurier, Ben Arfa and Krychowiak were all told that they are free to find new clubs at the start of July and were consequently left out of coach Unai Emery's International Champions Cup squad.
The source said that although Aurier is not short of suitors, his future cannot be resolved until the outcome of his appeal against a convertible two-month prison sentence for allegedly assaulting a police officer last year is known -- likely later this month. Aurier has been linked with moves to Manchester United and Tottenham.
Fellow right-back Thomas Meunier even appeared to confirm Aurier's imminent departure last week with an ironic "se queda" ("he stays") tweet, while rumours of the Belgium international's own exit for Real Madrid were rife. The tweet was in reference to the one Gerard Pique sent before Neymar eventually left Barcelona for PSG.
Ben Arfa has so far rebuffed all of PSG's attempts to move him on and has rejected lucrative moves to Turkey and China to remain at the Parc des Princes to try to prove his worth to Emery.
Despite this, Henrique has repeatedly made it clear to Ben Arfa that his time in Paris is considered over by the club and that he should find a new employer.
Two of his former clubs, Nice and Lyon, are in touch with his representatives -- despite the former publicly denying their interest in his summer return to Allianz Riviera.
Krychowiak is wanted by clubs in Ligue 1, La Liga and Serie A but PSG's asking price and his high salary are proving problematic as far as a permanent move is concerned. The Poland international would also prefer to leave Ligue 1 rather than play for another French club.
Aurier, Ben Arfa and Krychowiak have not played a single minute of competitive football so far this season and are unlikely to until they either make a move or the transfer window closes with them still at the club.
Aside from Aurier, the source said Matuidi and Lucas are the other players Henrique, Maxwell and Emery have together identified that could attract significant interest.
Selling the France and Brazil internationals would bring in significant funds but also create some breathing space on the wage bill, so they are considered available for transfer and the interested parties have been notified.
The source said Matuidi, 30, is in talks with long-term admirers Juventus and could join the Italian club before the end of the week if PSG get close to the €25 million they value him at.
If this does happen, Matuidi -- who has been used exclusively as a substitute so far this season -- will have taken a significant pay cut in exchange for a lengthy contract of at least three years in Turin.
As for Lucas, he was not in the squad for the Trophee des Champions victory over Monaco, nor the first two Ligue 1 fixtures -- wins at home to Amiens and away at Guingamp -- with the club's official line being that he is injured.
However, the source said that despite his close relationship with new €222m world-record signing Neymar, Lucas is not playing competitively -- he has featured in a behind-closed-doors friendly against the reserves -- because Henrique hopes to move him on in the next few weeks, with Roma and Liverpool both keen on the player.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.