Unai Emery and his PSG squad have landed in Austria for pre-season training. The lads will be put through their paces before taking on West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.
Of course, there are some absentees due to international commitments over the summer. One of those is Blaise Matuidi as Les Bleus gear up for a date with destiny at the Stade de Framce tomorrow night in the European Championship Final. But, reports this week have suggested that big bad Blaise may be on the cusp of a move away from the French capital. Will tomorrow night be his last success as a Paris Saint-Germain player?
When president Nasser Al-Khelaifi stated last month that there would be big changes at the club, the last thing I thought that’d entail would be a Matuidi departure. The defeat in Manchester back in the spring left a real bitter taste throughout the hierarchy of the club and the subsequent changes echo that. We have a brand new coach and three signings already through the door.
The new gaffer Unai Emery will most probably adopt a 4-2-3-1 formation this season. It will deviate away from the standard 4-3-3 we have been accustomed to for the entirety of Laurent Blanc’s three-year tenure. That change in itself will mean some personnel will not fit into the system. Does that include Matuidi?
The midfield engine has held down that left-hand central midfield role for years. He has been one of the first names on the team sheet whether it was under Carlo Ancelotti or Monsieur Blanc. I said for years that BM was massively underrated and arguably our most important player. His energy is infectious and a pivotal factor in the big, big games – particularly away from home in Europe.
His absence in that defeat at the Etihad last May due to suspension was obvious. We missed his legs in the middle of the park in what was a bitterly disappointing night. I am not saying by any mean had he played we would have gone through – but we would not have been any worse with him in the starting XI.
At 29 years of age, he will turn 30 next spring. The player himself apparently has a desire to play for one of the top clubs in England (according to Le Parisien). Manchester United are incessantly linked with the player and Bayern Munich – managed by his former coach Ancelotti – are another football institution to sound an interest.
Blaise has come to a crucial part of his career. He can stay at PSG and stake a claim to be part of Emery’s new look team or seek pastures new and test himself abroad.
As big a decision this is for him, it’s even bigger for the club. Matuidi is an athlete and we need someone with that kind of energy in midfield. If we were to let him go then you have to look at someone like Leicester City’s N’Gole Kante as a replacement. At 25 he would arrive with the best years ahead of him and if we construct business like that, then it makes perfect sense.
Regardless, if he were to depart there has to be a plan. Marco Verratti will be in one of those two holding midfield roles leaving the likes of Matuidi, Thiago Motta Adrien Rabiot and new signing Grzegorz Krychowiak vying it out for the other.
The question is, will any of the aforementioned be better than Blaise?