Inside PSG's eventful summer off the pitch

Inside PSG’s eventful summer: Wijnaldum leads a nine-man list of ‘undesirable’ stars and Neymar’s future hangs in the balance… but  Mbappe staying to play underafter his stunning contract U-turn

  • PSG want to get rid of nine players this summer, including Georginio Wijnaldum
  • Neymar’s future at the club is uncertain as he has been linked with a move away
  • Kylian Mbappe has decided to stay after being handed a lucrative new contract
  • Sportsmail takes a look at what has been happening off the pitch at French side

Winning the league by 15 points would be viewed as an unmitigated success at pretty much every club on the planet.

Yet, things are different at PSG.

The club had another Champions League campaign to forget last season as they were eliminated in the last 16 by Real Madrid in dramatic fashion, meaning their wait for that elusive European Cup goes on.

PSG sacked Mauricio Pochettino despite winning the league at a canter last season

This ultimately cost manager Mauricio Pochettino his job, while sporting director Leonardo has also been replaced.

And what about the playing staff?

The club have managed to keep hold of Kylian Mbappe, but at what cost? Then there is the uncertainty surrounding Lionel Messi’s and Neymar’s futures at the club, with neither guaranteed to stay at the Parc des Princes for much longer. 

Now the club are willing to offload as many as nine players this summer to provide new boss Christophe Galtier with the chance to reshape his squad.

It has already been an eventful summer for the Ligue 1 champions, and it looks like there is plenty more drama to come. 

Sportsmail takes a detailed look at how things are progressing off the pitch at PSG…

Overhauling the squad has become a clear priority at PSG.

It was reported on Wednesday that the French club had decided to leave nine ‘undesirable’ players at home for their pre-season tour of Japan, including Georginio Wijnaldum.

The former Liverpool midfielder arrived in Paris on a free transfer last year, and looked to be the steady hand that the side needed in the middle of the park.

However, his first season went disastrously as he failed to make an early impression and was subsequently left out of the team for most of their biggest games – he did not play a minute in either leg against Real Madrid.

PSG are ready to offload Georginio Wijnaldum after just one season at the club

He is now deemed surplus to requirements and could be moved on in the coming weeks. 

Other big names such as Mauro Icardi, Julian Draxler and Ander Herrera are unfancied, while PSG are also ready to bid farewell to Idrissa Gueye, Layvin Kurzawa, Junior Dina Ebimbe, Rafinha and Sergio Rico. 

Whether PSG can get all these players out the door is another matter, but they are not part of Galtier’s plans at the moment, and that looks unlikely to change any time soon.

WILL NEYMAR STAY OR GO?

Neymar became the most expensive player in the world when he joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017, but five years on, his time in the French capital may be coming to an end.

He has not delivered the club the Champions League trophy that they desire so much, and patience appears to be wearing thin among the fans and the club’s hierarchy.

The Brazilian winger was booed by a section of supporters after last term’s Champions League exit, and it was reported last month that he felt targeted by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s criticism of the team, leading to him considering his future.

It is still unclear whether Neymar will still be a PSG player at the start of the season

Neymar felt targeted by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s criticism of the team last month

Chelsea and Juventus have both been linked with Neymar in recent times, and he may want a change of scenery after half a decade at PSG.

Meanwhile, there have been mixed messages coming out of the club, with some reports claiming that PSG are open to him leaving, whereas new boss Galtier has insisted that he wants Neymar to stick around.

This saga could rumble on for the rest of the transfer window, which is hardly ideal for Galtier as he looks to prepare for the upcoming campaign.

MESSI STAYING – BUT FOR HOW MUCH LONGER?

Messi’s debut season at PSG was underwhelming by his ridiculously high standards.

He scored just six league goals, and was largely outshone by team-mate Mbappe. 

Still, his status as one of the best players to ever grace the game is secured, and PSG are desperate for him to stay. 

The Argentine playmaker has one year left on his current contract, but the French outfit want him to extend that deal by a further 12 months.

Lionel Messi is set to stay at PSG until 2023, but it is not clear whether he will stay beyond then

However, Messi is keen to keep his options open until after the World Cup later this year, by which point he will be about to enter the final six months of his contract.

This leaves Galtier with a potentially tricky dilemma. Should he build his side around an ageing genius who could opt to leave in the next 12 months? Or should he look to put together a team that does not become overly-dependent on individuals, like Messi, and instead can work as a collective to deliver Champions League glory in the coming seasons?

That is not a simple decision for the new manager to make.

MBAPPE’S ROLE

We all know Mbappe’s role on the pitch. He’s the main man and one of world football’s most exciting talents. That is very unlikely to change.

But what about away from the pitch?

He performed an astonishing U-turn to sign a new deal with PSG earlier this summer, rejecting the chance to join Real Madrid at the last minute. 

PSG had to pull out all the stops to keep him, offering him a £34m-a-year contract and a £126m signing-on bonus, giving him substantial control over his image rights, and they promised to overhaul how the club is run.

Kylian Mbappe decided to commit his future to PSG until 2025 earlier this summer

He has been given plenty of power, and it will be interesting to see how he uses it

There have even been reports that Mbappe could have a say in signings, as well as who leaves the club.

Could that actually happen? Will Mbappe really be able to get rid of Galtier, for example, if he doesn’t rate him?

That remains to be seen, but PSG have certainly given Mbappe an unprecedented amount of power. How he uses it will be fascinating to see.

NO HONEYMOON PERIOD FOR GALTIER

The fact that PSG let Pochettino go while hardly batting an eyelid shows how cut-throat it is at the club. Winning the title is not enough – the Champions League is the priority.

Galtier has one of the most talented squads in Europe at his disposal, but this can be a curse as well as a blessing. It means that he must deliver straight away.

New manager Christophe Galtier will be expected to bring success to PSG straight away

This will not be easy for the manager who upset the odds to win Ligue 1 with Lille in 2020-21.

Plenty of managers before him have struggled to find the right formula at PSG, but have then shown their class at other clubs, with Carlo Ancelotti and Thomas Tuchel both winning the Champions League since leaving the Parc des Princes.

Like Carlo Ancelotti and Thomas Tuchel, there can be very few doubts about Galtier’s credentials. But will he be given the opportunity to succeed, or will issues in the background rear their head again, as has often been the case in the past?




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