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Paris Saint-Germain will wrap up the signing of Edinson Cavani within the next 48-hours and he will be the first new recruit through the door this summer. He is the marquee name that will get the Parisien supporters pouring into the club shop on the Champs-Elysees to buy his shirt but the club must now focus on an area of the team that needs some added competition.
Maxwell, an unsung hero who very rarely puts a foot wrong is the undisputed king at left-back for PSG. Ever reliant, ever consistent, he has made that position his own ever since he signed from Barcelona in January 2012. He dislodged Siaka Tiene with ease and the Ivorian only made two appearances in his place last season; with the title already wrapped up and both being the final two games of the campaign. That just epitomises the dominance ‘Max’ has had in retaining his position week after week.
It was quite possibly the best season of his career. He made his most amount of appearances, 48 in total, seven more than his haul with Ajax in 2003 and Barca in 2011. His consistent nature is epitomised by the stats. He accumulated a successful pass percentage of 87.7% in Ligue 1, 87.5% when combined with appearances in the UEFA Champions League. He made 52 successful tackles in the league, averaging 1.6 a game and completed 66 interceptions, averaging two a game. His defensive side is accustomed but his link-up in the attacking third has been instrumental. He really does have a sound understanding and awareness of where his teammates are. Blaise Matuidi will vouch for that, the Frenchman who plays on the left-hand side of a three man midfield will never have any qualms linking up with the Brazilian who averaged just over 50 passes a game. He even netted three times last season just to show off even more. Kidding aside, he has been a marvellous servant to the club in his spell so far but as he approaches 32 years of age, he needs some fresh legs to compete with.
It is fundamental someone is bought in, especially with Tiene now at Montpellier. Two names have been heavily linked but it is Lille’s wonderkid Lucas Digne who appears to be the priority. The 19-year-old Frenchman fits the bill in every way possible to be a stalwart for years to come. He is very similar to Maxwell in terms of statue but also in their general play. Both prefer a short game, neat little passes, give and goes but the Lille man does like getting balls into the box which would be appreciated by Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Interestingly, for someone who is under six-foot tall, he is truly fabulous in the air and more often than not wins his aerial duels. That is an area where he does exceed Maxwell most definitely. Nevertheless, the similarities are vast and he would be a worthy addition – but a costly one. It is no secret that ourselves and Monaco have been in talks with Lille but as yet nothing has materialised.
LOSC president Michel Seydoux told L’Equipe at the weekend that both clubs are in for the Frenchman but did play with the idea of the young man staying put. He told L’Equipe; “The transfer will not happen this weekend, but yes, there is a competition between Monaco and PSG. But nobody has mentioned a third solution and that is that he stays with us this season”. One to watch out for!
The other name heavily linked is Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao. The 25-year-old Portuguese international is renowned for his attacking prowess and he would be more than welcome at the Parc des Princes. He has confirmed his intention to leave Madrid this summer after seeing his playing time limited due to the consistency of Marcelo in the last two years. Coentrao has had his fair share of playing time at the Bernabeu since he moved there in 2011 from Benfica but has never been able to dislodge Marcelo. That being said, he has all the necessary attributes and is undoubtedly a top left-back.
Coentrao only made 24 appearances last season, nearly half of Maxwell’s tally but his stats are decent despite the lack of playing time. He mustered 45 tackles and 32 interceptions in just 16 La Liga games. He even averaged a near 84% pass completion, completing 19 successful dribbles. Not bad at all.
Either Coentrao or Digne would be a worthy addition but it is vital either are brought in to give a solidity in the left-back slot. God forbid if Maxwell picked up an injury that put him out for some time, it would be so important for an equal calibre of player to come in for him.
Cavani is through the door but a left-back asap would be welcome too!
STATS COURTESY OF WHOSCORED.COM
FOLLOW THEM ON TWITTER: @WHOSCORED