People who are affiliated with French football know that some reports in the press can be a little far-fetched. No more so than with Le 10 Sport who broke an ‘exclusive’ story yesterday about Manchester United being in negotiations with Paris Saint-Germain over centre-back Marquinhos. These reports have gathered pace with the news dailies in England reporting similar stories. Whether that is true? I would be amazed but it does pose a question. Why isn’t the 20-year-old a first team regular at the Parc des Princes?
It amazes me how he isn’t. During Thiago Silva’s absence earlier in the campaign after he injured his hamstring in Naples, the former Roma man stepped in and developed an immediate understanding with David Luiz. This is no exaggeration by any means but during his brief run in the team up until the end of September, Marquinhos was PSG’s best player. Whether he was alongside Luiz or Zoumana Camara – as he was against Rennes in a 1-1 draw – he showed a maturity beyond his years.
This is all the more remarkable because he had a pre-season to forget in terms of his performances. He looked a shell of the player we spent €32m on and I personally had my reservations about him and Luiz commanding the defence. How wrong I was!
The performance of the two in that epic 3-2 victory over Barcelona at the Parc des Princes back on the 30th September was as good as it gets. The defence was so solid. I had not seen a PSG back-four like this for a while and I said at the time that the skipper Thiago Silva was going to have his work cut out in getting back into it. They were the bedrock for the victory. Marquinhos in particular made a world class block to deny Jordi Alba a certain goal before celebrating it as if he scored a winner. That was a special moment, a defining one of the victory – and probably of Marquinhios’ time at the club thus far.
The kid is going to develop to be just as good as Thiago Silva at his peak in my opinion. He has shown similar qualities to that of his compatriot and the fact the club invested so much money in him emphasises the belief. The conundrum for him at the moment is that he has the skipper Silva and a €50m defender in Luiz ahead of him. Blanc, whether rightly or wrongly, will not drop either when fully fit.
Fortunately for Blanc, he had an excuse to implement Silva back into the team when he returned from injury because Marquinhos was out himself with a thigh strain. Unfortunately, his playing time has been sparse ever since but did start the game in Saint-Etienne…even though it was at right-back.
He seems happy to bide his time but I can fully understand if Manchester United are making an interest. The lad could walk into any team in Europe.