Guest writers Neal Doyle and Reza Mohamed give us an insight on two of Les Parisiens’ recruits this summer with the new season just over a week away. Neal profiles our new star centre-forward Zlatan, with Reza giving us an insight on the relatively unknown Marco Verratti.
What do you do if you lose out on the league championship by three points? Well Paris Saint-Germain decided to buy a man who apart from Juventus’ Scudetto victory last season had won the domestic title in three different countries in the last eight seasons.
That man is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It could be argued that Zlatan was the key man in making that happen for all those teams apart from FC Barcelona where despite what is seen as a ‘disappointing’ spell, the Swedish international was still able to score 16 times in just 29 appearances, including an El Clasico winner at the Camp Nou.
This ‘ability’ Ibrahimovic seems to have of being able to carry his side towards the finishing line will certainly help PSG’s chances of winning the domestic title for the first time since 1994, especially as there are no stand out rivals as Montpellier and Lille both sold key players this summer. His arrival will also take some of the burden of last summer’s big money transfer, Javier Pastore from Palermo who seemed to struggle under the intense pressure, something Ibrahimovic has been used to for the majority of his career.
The question marks about Ibra will come in Europe. This is because he is seen, certainly by some of the English press, as not showing up in big games. Despite this, he has a record of 29 goals in 90 matches in UEFA club competitions whilst not always playing for Europe’s very elite. He also has 33 goals in 80 appearances for a less than spectacular Sweden team. This proves that he is capable of performing on the big stage.
Whatever you think of the enigmatic Swede, one thing is for sure, despite the other arrivals from Serie A of Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marco Verratti, it will be Ibrahimovic who will ensure Ligue 1 is one of the most watched leagues in Europe this season.
Marco Verratti, rated as one of the most promising youngsters in modern football, signed for the club for a reported €12 million last month from Italian minnows Pescara – who incidentally gained promotion to Serie A last season.
Despite his age (19) and a distinct lack of experience, the youngster really peaked in the 2011/2012 season. He was scouted by many top European clubs including Manchester City and Milan.
Verratti shows a lot of talent and bares similar qualities to Andrea Pirlo. He has been a revelation for Pescara, using his vision to baffle defenders and utilises his defensive attributes to scare off strikers. He started out as an attacking midfielder but was converted to a defensive playmaker in 2011, and he has flourished in this position ever since. He has the ability to play killer passes to his team-mates, and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a target man, he should get into his stride rather quickly. He can also track back to help the back-four and this can contribute to PSG’s defence which has been improved with the arrival of Brazilian defender Thiago Silva.
The key thing about Verratti is that he is ever so young and can nurture his skills at Camp des Loges for the foreseeable future. In a few years – or maybe even this season if Carlo Ancelotti bloods him in quickly – we could see Verratti alongside Argentine playmaker Javier Pastore. With Verratti and Pastore at the heart of the midfield, PSG will be an unstoppable force.