GUEST POST BY IGOR MLADENOVIC
Igor is a lifelong Paris Saint-Germain supporter who has written for a number of reputable websites including SF Union.
David Beckham, the 36-year-old will be unveiled to the press early next month, according to L’Equipe. His arrival pursues commercial goals rather than sporting ones, as Beckham’s popularity worldwide will help the club get some additional attention and build up its prestige.
On the pitch however, Beckham’s addition makes little sense and the position he will be played at is even discussed. Some reckon he may be able, for at least part of a game, to take on the right wing slot allocated by Jeremy Menez thus providing much needed competition to the former AS Roma winger who tends to wander in and out of games.
His discussion with Marseille’s André Ayew when the clubs faced each other last month is still in everyone’s minds. As Ayew asked Ménez’ “why [he] did not run” the latter responded; “because I leave that to others”. Surely Beckham, keen to get his name down with Fabio Capello’s England Euro 2012 squad, will provide another approach to the fitness and motivation required at that level.
What is likelier however is that Beckham will take on the more central role he has displayed with the Los Angeles Galaxy, sitting in front of the defence from where he can still work his long-range magic. He may replace Mathieu Bodmer or Mohamed Sissokho in the latter stages of games in the centre of the park.
Overall Beckham will need to display his utmost professionalism if he is to be accepted durably by the PSG crowd. Despite what one may think, the Englishman’s arrival is making some eyes water with his wages (estimated at €800,000 a month) having already been made public, which is a somewhat scarce occurrence. The French have a different mentality towards money and are a lot more low-key than their English counterparts when it comes to speaking of salaries. The last time a player’s wages were disclosed is was for Mateja Kezman, paid €250,000 a month to not score goals. All the patience showed by PSG fans towards the former Chelsea forward suddenly vanished and a massive backlash was triggered, ending with Kezman packing his bags and heading off to China. This will effectively be the first time a player’s wages are known prior to him even setting foot on the Parc des Princes pitch.
Carlos Tevez, another inflated ego chased by the Parisians, the Argentine would be a world class addition to PSG’s roster. The simple fact a mere exercise of muscle-flexing by Cheik Al-Khelaifi was enough to put PSG shoulder to shoulder with AC Milan in the negotiations with the Man City striker and indicates just how much the club has progressed in the transfer market. Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi was quoted as saying that; “if Tevez wants prestige, he should choose AC Milan while if he wants money, he should go to PSG”, which in all fairness, for anyone acquainted with the Argentinean’s career choices, leaves little room for doubt.
His arrival would however be a problem in that PSG plays with only one striker in Kevin Gameiro, whose small height is compensated with tremendous movement and shooting ability. The former Lorient forward finished last season as Ligue 1’s second top goalscorer and has been excellent so far, perhaps being one of the most consistent performers since the season started. Shunning him to the bench would be somewhat cruel both to him and the supporters who enjoy his passion and the fact that he is a local boy, born and raised in Senlis (40 kilometers north of Paris).
Eden Hazard, the best player in France – some would argue the best outside of Spain – is chased by most of Europe’s top dogs, and only PSG seems able to retain him within French borders – although he stated in an interview last season that when he leaves, he will definitely move abroad.
The Lille and Belgian wonderkid is not particularly needed in terms of what PSG already has on the wings (Menez and Nene are talented alright) but his quality is too good to go unnoticed in the transfer market. Able to play centrally and on both wings, his arrival would instill some sense of competition for PSG’s offensive trio Nene, Pastore and Menez who rest on their laurels here and there during games. His arrival would have the added bonus of depriving title rivals Lille of their best player, which also implies that the Dogues will not let their star player go to a rival unless the offer is seriously inflated. Is it worth overpaying for Hazard, only to get a player whose best positions on the pitch are already covered at PSG? Perhaps not.
Federico Balzaretti, the Palermo left-back is rumoured to be joining former teammates Pastore and Salvatore Sirigu next month. The left-back slot is indeed the least competitive one at PSG this season, with Ivorian international Siaka Tiene failing to offer a lot going forward whilst the experienced Sylvain Armand is not looking as comfortable on a football pitch anymore as he is on the bench. Italian international Balzaretti, who prompted Palermo president to label him; “the best player in the team” last season, sounds like an ideal addition to the squad.
Marvin Martin, the new Zinedine Zidane (some would say) has taken France by storm with his creativity and assists with lowly Sochaux, culminating in a French call-up where he scored twice on his debut (like Zidane before him, in 1994 against the Czech Republic).
The Paris-born playmaker would be in direct competition with Pastore, whose morale is at its lowest since arriving on the banks of the Seine last summer. Perhaps if there is one player who should be let off the hook despite some awful performances, it is Pastore, which would make the signing of another number 10 to rival him somewhat uncalled for. Martin, who completed the most assists in the Ligue 1 last season, would certainly not accept being relegated to the bench in the months building up to Euro 2012, where he should by all accounts be present in spite of the strong competition in midfield.
Overall, the rumours regarding the January transfer window implies that Leonardo and QSI are generally looking to add genuine quality to the squad. The decision of who comes in and who goes out may ultimately boil down to Carlo Ancelotti – who looks certain to be named the club’s new Coach next week.
If anything else, January promises to be an eventful month for PSG.
Thank-you to Igor for submitting this excellent article. You can follow him on Twitter @Mladenovic_