One Horse Race: Who will stop PSG?

The takeover

On June 30th 2011 Qatar Sports Investments bought 70% stake in PSG and immediately put their money to good use spending £6 million on Jeremy Menez and around £6m million on Blaise Matuidi, not crazy money but at the time Ronaldo had just broken the transfer record the year before but other than that, transfer fees were quite ‘normal’. PSG did show their intent in terms of heavy spending with the purchase of Javier Pastore for a whopping £31 million. Prior to their investments in the 2011/2012 season, PSG’s highest finish in the French league was 4th, not bad for their team at the time especially as a season before they finished 13th.
They had a few good players at the time like, defensive midfielder legend Claude Makélélé who retired that season, Mamadou Sakho now at Liverpool and Ludovic Giuly who were not bad players but certainly not top level players.

League dominance

PSG have won Ligue 1 for the past 4 years and they don’t look like slowing down, heavily outspending the rest of the league and being able to buy the best players has been the catalyst to their instaint raise. PSG were the only big spenders in France, well that was until Monaco who were in Ligue 2 at the time were taken over by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2011 and didn’t get out of Ligue 2 untill the 2013 where they spend a reported £140 million on transfers including £32 million on arguably the best striker at the time in Radamel Falcao, £33 million on James Rodriquez, £18 million on João Moutinho, £15 million on Geoffrey Kondogbia as well as free transfers for veteran defenders Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abidal. With lots and lots of money pumped into the team, the hope was to challenge for the French league. It seems it would be a two horse race for the league but Monaco couldn’t get past PSG and even finished third in 2014/2015 season.
Whereas PSG spend year after year, Monaco simply didn’t, implying they rather believed they already had the team to win or the owners didn’t envisage this constant level of spending and were not prepared to pump more money into a team that hadn’t been much success.

The rise and fall of Monaco

Monaco’s chance seems to have come and gone and now with their owner going through a small £2.7bn divorce and financial fair play rules, Monaco’s rise in the French league seemed to be short lived. After a great run in the 2014 World Cup Monaco managed to sell James Rodriguez for an astonishing £63 million and are still desperately trying to offload Falcao. PSG have gone from strength to strength since the takeover, even with throwing money around on transfers the ability to throw money on wages and what certainly put eyes on PSG was the signing of David Beckham in 2013. PSG haven’t just thrown money at anyone since the first transfer window after the takeover, they have done well in the transfer market. £31 million on Pastore hasn’t turned out how they would have liked but he was a very good player with a big reputation in Italy and in today’s market Matuidi can easily be sold for £20million+. Lucas Moura was a very sought after player and PSG got him, Zlatan had his pick of the bunch, David Luiz was interesting but the flaws that were exposed in the premier league will not be exposed in the French league, they could be exposed in the champions league but during his time at Chelsea, Luiz showed up in big games so I believe he’s a great buy for PSG. Thiago Silva is arguably the best centre back in the world and Cavani came to PSG as a one of the top 10 strikers in the world. So as PSG improve and the brand grows internationally, they will have no problem to continue spending regardless of FFP sanctions and are on their way to becoming an elite club in Europe.

Overview of big name transfers

2011: Javier Pastore – £31 million, Jeremy Menez – £6million, Blaise Matuidi – £6 million
2012: Thiago Silva – £31million, Zlatan Ibrahimovic – £15 million, Marco Verratti – £9 million
2013: Edinson Cavani – £48million, Lucas Moura – £30 million, Ezequiel Lavezzi – £21million, Marquinhos – £23 million, David Beckham – Free
2014: David Luiz – £37million, Yohan Cabaye – £19 million
2015: Angel Di Maria – £47million
2016: Cristiano Ronaldo? Possible

The answer

So can I see another club winning the French league, the answer simply is no. Until another team is owned by a billionaire, PSG will have a clear run to the French league year after year.


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