In what had been a relatively quiet summer, Paris Saint-Germain have gone all out this past weekend with an influx of change and optimism oozing throughout the football club.
Laurent Blanc’s three year tenure at the club was officially brought to an end last week and the Spaniard Unai Emery was installed after weeks of waiting in the wings. Monsieur Blanc has received a rather hefty payoff if reports are true – an eye watering €20m+. As I said a couple of weeks ago when the news broke that we were on the cusp of appointing Emery, Blanc can leave the club with his head held high. He will go down as the club’s most successful ever coach and it’s a feat that may never be replicated.
So, a new coach is in! New backroom staff and a fresh approach. In conjunction with that, the club has signed three players over the course of the weekend.
Hatem Ben Arfa, who has been linked with Les Parisiens all season put pen to paper on a two-year contract at the Parc des Princes. However, the Frenchman revealed that he was moments away from signing for Sevilla before representatives at PSG gave him a call. Lo and behold, the former Newcastle United man would have a change of heart and sign for the French champions.
Ben Arfa told the club’s official website that it is a dream come true having been a Parisian fan all his life. He said; “Signing with Paris Saint-Germain is a very happy and a proud moment. Paris Saint-Germain has always been a very special team for me, so to wear this jersey at the Parc des Princes is a childhood dream. It is an honour that the club is giving me this opportunity, making this dream come true. I will do my utmost to represent my new team to the best of my abilities and to make our supporters proud. Finally, I would like to thank OGC Nice, who helped me get back to enjoying my football again and gave me another chance to show French fans what I am capable of on the pitch.”
Sevilla fans must be sick to their back teeth with Paris. Not only have we lured their coach and scuppered a deal for Ben Arfa, we have also completed the signing of one of their talismen, Polish international Grzegorz Krychowiak.
The 26-year-old links up with Emery once again and confirmed that the coach’s move to the French capital played a key role in him making the transfer. As quoted by the club’s site, he said; “I am very proud to return to France (having had spells at Bordeaux, Nantes and Reims) and defend the colours of a club as ambitious as Paris Saint-Germain. The opportunity to continue working with Unai Emery was obviously a major factor in my decision. I have joined Paris to live very strong emotions and with the ambition of winning as many trophies as possible. I am looking forward to this exciting next step in my career.”
For me, this will probably be our most important signing all summer. The Pole has ultimately been bought to be the successor to Thiago Motta in that holding midfielder role and the five-year contract he’s signed emphasises that fact. The fee itself has not been disclosed but it’s reported to be around €25m.
Last and by no means least, Belgian international right-back Thomas Meunier was also confirmed on Sunday afternoon. The 24-year-old will provide competition for Serge Aurier with Gregory Van der Wiel seeking pastures in Turkey with Fenerbahce after his contract expired.
The club has scheduled a press conference this afternoon where Emery will be presented. Ben Arfa is also going to be in attendance and following the signings of Meunier/ Krychowiak, they may be as well.
In the space of a few days, this has turned out to be quite an exciting summer all of a sudden! Zlatan Ibrahimovic is no longer part of the club as he confirmed his move to Manchester United but the signs are good for Les Parisiens. With three solid signings already in the bag and a new coach at the helm, I am sure there is plenty more to come over the course of the window!