Of course they’ve been here before. Same disappointment, same flaws, same mistakes, same end, same regrets. Paris Saint-Germain knows very well what has happened at the start of the Champions League. It’s another round-of-16 exit, this time from a Bayern Munich side that wasn’t even so impressive over the two legs. But Joshua Kimmich and Co. didn’t need to be, as PSG made things easy for the Bavarians in the end.
This is another failed European campaign, like many before. PSG manager Christophe Gaultier, in his first and probably last season on the bench, can blame Wednesday’s games (Neymar, Presnel Kimpembe) and mid-match injuries (Marquinhos, Nordy Mukile). He could also point to the fact that PSG finished the game with two 17-year-olds on the pitch in Warren Zaire-Emery and El Chadel Bissiabou, but Gaultier will know he bears responsibility for his side’s failure. carries a major portion of
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But as PSG’s manager mentioned the team in his post-match news conference, let’s start from there. Kylian Mbappe also spoke about the quality of both teams: “When you look at the two teams: they have a great team, a great team, they have a Champions League winning team. I did my first Champions League press Said in the conference at the beginning of the season that we will give our maximum in this competition. And this is our maximum … it is the truth.”
Embappe is correct. PSG do not have a team as good as Bayern Munich or Manchester City in terms of quality or quantity. The absence of recruits in January was surprising as the team was clearly in need of reinforcements, and some signings from last summer (Carlos Soler, Hugo Ekitike) did not work out. Luis Campos, PSG’s relatively new sporting director and a close ally of Mbappe, is under pressure after his first two transfer windows.
It’s not a question of spending more money this summer, but of recruiting wisely. Already, summer goals don’t sound like the “bling bling” strategy of the past. While Milan Skriniar will arrive as a free agent in the summer, rumored targets like Randal Kolo Muani, Manu Kon and Kefran Thuram are all young, all talented and all from Paris.
This group of players needs an overhaul. The squad needs a fresh and fresh set of faces, some young and others with more experience. Embappé will be at the center of the reconstruction work. That’s the project. Neymar will be offered to other clubs but is unlikely to leave due to lack of interest from potential suitors. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi should not renew his contract, nor should Sergio Ramos as they are coming to the end of their careers while PSG need stars to take them to the highest level.
This squad has failed the club and their supporters, because collectively, it hasn’t been good enough, but individually, the players haven’t performed as well. Mbappe was well-marked by Dayot Upamecano and the Bayern defense on Wednesday. He had almost zero influence on the game. Messi was ineffective. Marco Verratti has lost his magic on the wrong side of 30. Ramos, who is 36, can only play in the back three for now. Then there is the issue of Neymar; With his form, his injury record and his huge contract, he has another four years to run. the list goes on. During a Champions League campaign, there are too many limitations for a team like this.
Despite all this, PSG actually played a very good first half in Munich. They had the better chances – how Vitinha missed an open goal just before the break is beyond belief – and they controlled the tempo of the game well, but they could not maintain it after half-time. Verratti gifted a goal to Bayern and, when a boost from the bench was needed to save the tie, there was hardly any talent to call upon.
PSG are heavily dependent on Mbappe and as much as he is loved and needed, it is not viable against top teams. You need more than just being the best player in the world. As we saw on Wednesday, even he can’t do everything on his own. PSG needs a strong squad full of strong individuals. They require certain patterns of play, certain speeds, certain controls, certain certainties. At present it is not so.
But you need the right manager to implement these ideas. Is Gaultier right for the job? He has shown a few times already this season that he is not good enough for this level, and he admitted after the game on Wednesday that he lost a tactical battle with Bayern boss Julian Nagelsmann. Gaultier will end the season with the mandatory Ligue 1 title and has one more year left on his contract.
However, now no one can guarantee that he will be on the bench next season. What would be the point of keeping Galtier for another year if the club is at the dawn of a new cycle? The Frenchman has always felt like a stop-gap for another, better manager.
PSG need someone who will build a competitive unit with a style and philosophy, like Erik ten Haag and Mikel Arteta are doing at Manchester United and Arsenal respectively, or Jurgen Klopp did at Liverpool seven-and-a-half years ago. did. Zinedine Zidane is still the dream of PSG’s Qatari owners. Can he come this summer? Absolutely. is that Maybe, but only in some extreme circumstances. Will he be the right choice for the new cycle? That is far from certain.
The Qatari are clearly very disappointed with the result in Munich but they are yet to make up their mind on the manager’s future. What they already know is that the summer will have to be a big one. It’s time to act to avoid another night like Wednesday next season.