PSG’s squad restructuring plan is complete


On 10 June 2022, Paris Saint-Germain appointed Luis Campos as their sporting director in the hope of achieving European glory – a feat that has evaded the Parisian club in its illustrious history.

However, there are no shortcuts to that success.

Previously, they tried to take one by assembling a star-studded attacking trio comprising Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr., and Lionel Messi. But to the PSG hierarchy’s disappointment, that was an expensive blunder.

The new route the club has set sail in places faith in promising young talent with the hope that they will develop into world-class players. This method is relatively cheaper than purchasing ready-made footballers in their prime, like the record purchase of Neymar Jr. in 2017 for €222 million.

Although this alternative is financially appealing, the risk of failure is still high since there are indefinite factors that could derail players from fulfilling their potential.

Luis Campos has spearheaded this grand plan, and for the past two seasons, the Qatari-owned club has been making quiet but significant moves in the transfer market.

Focus on youth

Similar to many other clubs in Europe, PSG diverted their attention to placing faith in youngsters with high ceilings of potential. And so, the age profile of their transfer signings has been distinctive for the past two years.

 (Age of each signing on the date of transfer)

Luis Campos has successfully integrated youth into the squad, and it is evident when comparing the average age of PSG’s starting eleven in the opening three Ligue 1 matches for the past five seasons.

When studying the data, PSG fielded their youngest eleven in the first three games of the new campaign in the past five years.

A world without Mbappé

The Mbappé-Real Madrid saga has been documented extensively over the past two years, and the feeling surrounding Parc des Princes is that the World Cup winners’ exit is inevitable – making it critical for PSG to prepare for a life without Kylian Mbappé, who the club has depended on for goals since he arrived in 2017.

After moving from Monaco, no player has recorded more goals for PSG than Mbappé with 163. Over that period, the player coming second, Neymar, scored just 86 – 53% less than the Frenchman.

(% of team goals scored by Kylian Mbappe in Ligue 1 since he joined PSG)

The sustainable solution was identified quickly by Luis Campos, who has brought numerous offensive players to share the goal-scoring responsibility. After all, it is nearly impossible to find a like-for-like replacement for Mbappé, never mind the financial cargo the club would have to bear.

Moreover, the club’s willingness to let go of Neymar and Messi this summer was a statement by the owners of moving away from the “bling-bling” model.

The new attacking lineup includes the youthful Gonçalo Ramos, Randal Kolo Muani, and Bradley Barcola, along with the experience of Ousmane Dembélé and Marco Asensio.

This strength in depth will allow PSG to compete on all fronts this season. An injury to any one or two of the players should not cause a significant drop in the quality of the starting eleven.

Therefore, if Kylian Mbappé were to seek an exit from PSG next summer, the club would be more than well-prepared to handle his loss.

Forward-looking plan

In an article published by The Athletic on 15 November 2021, Tom Worville analyzed the different ages football players peak, which varies from position to position due to the diverse physical demands.

Using the same technique, we can map the PSG squad’s positioning on the peak age chart.

A perfect blend of youth and experience is essential for the success of any team, and PSG seems to have an ideal formula.

In positions that demand more experience than youth, such as central defense and midfield. Luis Campos has hired players who are at their physical peak or past it but have a better understanding of the game.

However, few youngsters have been integrated into these positions to provide the required energy and dynamism.

The roles of full backs, wingers, and strikers, which require significant physical demands, are typically filled by players who are either currently at the peak of their abilities or approaching that stage.

The few outcasts in the team are irrelevant to the squad as they are fringe players who will not see much game time and will likely not have any contributions to the club moving forward.

Overall, the squad looks well-planned for Luis Enrique to mold over the coming years. The sporting director and the recruitment department have fulfilled their duty in assembling a complete squad void of any glaring points of weakness.

From now on, the club’s future lies in the hands of the Spanish head coach to accomplish the inconceivable feat of lifting the Champions League.

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