Not since the summer of 2017, when Kylian Mbappe and Neymar arrived in the same window, have Paris Saint-Germain agreed to pay as much money for a single player as they paid for Achraf Hakimi earlier this week. This says a lot about how important they viewed the addition of the Moroccan.
It should come as no surprise that PSG made the signing of a new right back a priority this summer. In both the Champions League and Ligue 1 last season, Mauricio Pochettino’s side were badly lacking in this area, with Alessandro Florenzi only a short-term solution on loan from Roma.
Pochettino’s approach is dependent on width in the full back positions and so it was always likely PSG would enter the market to address this deficiency. They could use a new left back too, with neither Mitchel Bakker nor Abdou Diallo up to the required standard. The €60m signing of Hakimi is a good start, though.
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For a club that has famously spent its way into the European elite, PSG have allowed themselves to coast in recent years. Their squad has largely remained the same for a number of seasons, since the landmark 2017 summer window, and this has resulted in the emergence of some problem areas.
Gianluigi Donnarumma is expected to pitch up at the Parc des Princes after the conclusion of Euro 2020, with the Italian goalkeeper a free agent after leaving AC Milan at the end of last season. While PSG already boast a top level number one in Keylor Navas, Donnarumma’s arrival will serve as another statement of intent.
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Sergio Ramos is another player widely expected to sign for PSG as a free agent. Thiago Silva was notable in his absence for the French giants last season and so Ramos, who is on the lookout for a new club after leaving Real Madrid, would go a long way to filling the void left by the Brazilian centre back.
A new central midfielder would complete PSG’s summer rebuild, with Paul Pogba and Eduardo Camavinga reportedly on their radar. Both players have just one year left on their current contracts with the French press delivering daily updates on the pursuit of Pogba in particular.
Meanwhile, the situation regarding Kylian Mbappe’s contract continues to linger. PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi recently insisted the forward would “never” be allowed to leave the Parc des Princes, but the fact of the matter remains that the 22-year-old will, as things stand, walk away a free agent next summer.
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Mbappe’s exit would present PSG with a juncture in their recent history as a club and would free up some salary space for replacements. They can’t wait around for the World Cup winner to make a decision on his future, though. By starting the rebuild now, PSG might actually stand a better chance of persuading their prize asset to stay.
In Pochettino, PSG possess one of the best coaches in the game right now. Last season saw the Argentine inherit a squad that wasn’t his with the disconnect between the players on the pitch and the manager on the touchline manifesting itself in an underwhelming campaign that saw PSG lose their grip on the Ligue 1 title.
The signing of Hakimi hints at a recognition within the Parc des Princes of the issues that must be addressed to give Pochettino any real chance of success, but the Moroccan can’t be the only new addition this summer. PSG mustn’t put off a much-needed rebuild any longer.
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