Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi confirmed last night to SKY Sport 24; “Yes, I’ve sold Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to PSG”. The words emanated from the horse’s mouth that his two prized assets will make the move to the French capital imminently. It is a double swoop that has been greeted with excitement – and pessimism at the same time – from the PSG fans. It is such a vast amount of money to be splashed out on two of the world’s biggest talents – no doubt – but there will be repercussions for the current PSG players as a consequence.
Ibrahimovic’s arrival is a real statement of intent. A player who has done it all wherever he has been, winning league titles for fun and being a catalyst to his teams. However, at 30 years of age, it is an awful amount of money to pay for him. Nevertheless, he is astoundingly talented, with a physique to match and PSG will get their money’s worth out of the three years he will sign for.
Last season it was evident a potent striker was sorely missed. Goals were lacking as Carlo Ancelotti tried to utilise Jeremy Menez as a makeshift centre-forward of some sorts, interchanging with Javier Pastore from time to time. Guillaume Hoarau found himself in and out the team, as too Kevin Gamerio whose debut season at the club just did not work out as he intended.
Gameiro is a fabulous player and what he did at Lorient echoes that testament. Regardless, it appears Ancelotti is not so keen and the player himself has expressed a desire to leave. Ibra’s arrival may just result in that eventually. The Frenchman has been linked with a move to Spain constantly over the past month. Valencia made contact but cooled their interest and now its Sevilla who are exploring the possibility.
Gameiro will not want to play second-fiddle with Ibrahimovic having his place in the team guaranteed. Also, with Peguy Luyindula signing a one-year contract extension – bizarrely after the debacle between him and the club – he will not be going anywhere it seems and Ancelotti will be keen to retain Hoarau who he is a big fan of. It is majorly disappointing for Gameiro. He showed glimpses of his ability last season, as well as in the 9-0 win over Stegersbach on Wednesday – albeit against an inferior side.
Thiago Silva’s arrival is another that will see players falling down the pecking order. Mamadou Sakho’s days as captain look to be numbered as Ancelotti confirmed he may give the armband to someone else. He did say he will award it only to a Frenchman with Mathieu Bodmer and Christophe Jallet looking the most likely recipients or even – although highly unlikely – Jeremy Menez.
Sakho, like Gameiro, just did not fall into Ancelotti’s good books. He missed a large part of the season when the Italian arrived, opting to play Alex, Milan Bisevac and Zoumana Camara ahead of him. Alex and Bisevac in particular showed an understanding as a partnership in the final part of the season and they will be integral in the forthcoming campaign. Bisevac may be utilised more as a right-back with Silva arriving, especially after Marcos Ceara departed the club. Silva will slot in alongside Alex in central defence, casting more doubt over Sakho’s future at the club.
The skipper has been linked with a move to Lyon but Ancelotti quashed any such talk. He would love to keep the majority of his squad intact but it is near impossible to see that happening. Ezequiel Lavezzi has already joined, putting Nene’s role at the club into doubt as he enters the final year of his contract and Italian starlet Marco Verratti looks certain to join from Pescara.
There are many questions there to be answered and it is down to Ancelotti to decide how he utilises his new found riches. PSG, on paper, have a squad that is now the envy of many across Europe but can it be kept happy and on song? We shall see.