Tuesday, May 06, 2014

PSG - chickens coming home to roost. Fair play hits club hard.

PSG now knows the penalty they will pay under the new UEFA "Fair Play" rules to target rampant spending (think PSG and Manchester City). Speaking of the citizens, they are believed to be fined a hefty amount as well - 50m pounds. But for this post, let us focus on what PSG is facing next season. After trying to convince UEFA that their sponsorship deal
PSG ... you have been naughty
with the Qatar Tourism Authority for £167m-a-year was deemed not valid and put PSG in violation of the fair play rule. The penalties PSG face:

  • PSG will not be able to increase their payroll, which is already the highest in Europe at 240m euros.
  • PSG will not be allowed to purchase any players during the transfer window until they sell off players. They can also only spend 60m Euros on one "star player" but cannot break it down into 2 players for 30m or 3 for 20m. Not sure what about buying rotation players at say 5m Euros...
  • With regards to transfers, they are allowed only 21 players on their Champions League roster as opposed to the usual 25 player list. Also at least 8 must be formed by the club.
  • Finally they will have to pay a nice little fine of 60m euros paid out over 3 years. 
With this ruling, expect things to be very interesting in Paris this summer. It could be argued that if PSG had a healthy Zlatan they might have gone further in the Champions League, something their wealthy owners are most interested in than saving a few Euros to get back in the good graces with UEFA. Their current squad should once again challenge for Ligue 1 as well as domestic cups next season, even if they do not add any new players. Other than the obvious impact on the coffers, here are some story lines to be watched:
  • Look for many of the rumors of player exits to gain more steam and some coming to fruition. Even without this penalty, PSG had to do something with Cavani. Under Blanc's current system, the striker has had difficulty emulating the impact he had in Italy with Napoli. Rolling out a 4-3-3 left the Uruguayan striker out wide, somewhere he did not seem comfortable being. With rumors abound about him heading to the EPL, Manchester United being one of the most discussed destinations, I think there is fire where there is so much smoke. Look for Cavani to end up either in Manchester or in London with Chelsea.  This will also free up 10m Euros in salary.
  • The log jam in the midfield. Blanc leans on the trident of Matuidi, Motta and Veratti in his 4-3-3. With the addition of Cabaye over the winter, and the rumors of targeting Pogba as well as the emergence of Rabiot and you have a bit of a log jam. It will be interesting to see if the Pogba transfer gets shelved and what happens with Rabiot, who is rumored to be heading to Chelsea. Will PSG look to off load Veratti? Sell him to the likes of Arsenal? What about the Pastore? Who is really a central midfielder and has been more of a bench player. I see Pastore being moved, probably back to Italy as he is excess already and moving his 4m Euro salary would be seen as an addition by subtraction. I think Rabiot will be kept. Not only is he a talent but he is home grown...something that is going to carry even greater importance next season. Also, look for Sissoko to be moved as well.
  • Speaking of log jams, what about the wingers? Menez, Lucas and Lavezzi are all
    Closer to reality?
    options on the wings. As is, out of position Cavani. However there are some rumors that PSG will make a push to bring back Hazard to Ligue 1. The fact the Belgium winger has had some words with the Special One, might add some fuel to that fire. Could PSG move Menez and Lavezzi, to then use their one big signing to get Hazard? That would slot Hazard on the left and Lucas on the right...seems like a good formula. With Menez and Lavezzi out - PSG would save over 7m Euros. Granted if they added a player of the likes of Hazard they would be adding payroll.
PSG will have to do some house keeping this summer. They will have to get rid of some of the expensive dead weight they have - Pastore, Menez, Sissoko are first to come to mind. They will need to figure out what to do with Cavani. I think the situation, both on the field and on the balance sheet means he will be heading out of Paris.

By the beginning of next season PSG will still be a favorite to win the Ligue 1 title. The question will become, can they manage the balance sheet and the penalties to get their club to a position where they can challenge for a European title?

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