Humiliated by Neymar, De Ligt & De Jong – inside PSG’s transfer crisis

first_imgIf one thing has become very evident this summer, it is that Paris Saint-Germain have a credibility problem.Eight years after QSI took over the running of the Parc des Princes club – heralding a cash-crazy era of superstar signings like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and, more recently, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – the big names have suddenly stopped arriving.Last season, the Parisians were handcuffed by the shackles of Financial Fair Play (FFP). Having embarked on a record-breaking spending spree in 2017 – which effectively saw them splash out €400 million (£375m/$445m) on their forward line – they were forced to tighten their belts the following year. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Emery out of jail – for now – as brilliant Pepe papers over Arsenal’s cracks What is Manchester United’s ownership situation and how would Kevin Glazer’s sale of shares affect the club? Ox-rated! Dream night in Genk for Liverpool ace after injury nightmare Messi a man for all Champions League seasons – but will this really be Barcelona’s? However, in 2019 they can have no financial excuses for a disappointing transfer window that has seen them miss out on both of their key targets.First, Barcelona beat them to the signature of Frenkie de Jong. Then, after a prolonged battle, Juventus elbowed their way to the front of the queue to capture fellow wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt.PSG’s financial clout alone was insufficient to lure either of the up-and-coming Dutch stars from Ajax to France.They have been able to sign Pablo Sarrabia, Ander Herrera, Abdou Diallo, and even prodigious Barca teenager Xavi Simons this summer. But when it has come to the players that they have really wanted to improve their first team – the type any side in Europe would be proud to have – they have missed out.Image is clearly an issue at Parc des Princes, with poor Champions League performances in successive years tarnishing a Qatari project that was designed to make the club the biggest on the continent. In particular, the collapses against Barcelona in 2017 and Manchester United earlier this year have served only to highlight the team’s fragility in clutch situations.PSG GFXPerhaps a more important factor, though, is the manner in which PSG’s players are treated. Those on the outside will have watched Neymar spend the last two years leading club officials a merry dance on and off the pitch. His stranglehold over the club – and the way in which his unprofessionalism has been indulged – is unbecoming of a team with such lofty aspirations, sending out all the wrong signals to prospective arrivals.The world’s most expensive player continues to cast a shadow over PSG, although the installation of countryman Leonardo as sporting director has signalled a clampdown on his destructive behaviour. It may ultimately cost them the former Barcelona star – who has publicly stated that he wants to quit the club and return to Camp Nou – but to regain credibility it would be a price worth paying.Neymar has become a millstone for the Parisians but offloading him this summer is a task fraught with difficulty. Europe’s biggest clubs have all made their key summer signings and have racked up sizeable spending deficits, meaning that signing the Brazil ace and staying within the boundaries of FFP is tricky.Part-exchange deals have been mooted – particularly from Barcelona with Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele – but it would signal another credibility crisis for the Qatari-owned side if they collected another outfit’s cast offs in part-exchange for one of their most marketable players.It has not just been Neymar who has played games with the PSG hierarchy in recent months. Adrien Rabiot did likewise before leaving on a free transfer for Juventus this summer. Head coach Thomas Tuchel was critical of the club’s handling of the saga, suggesting that life behind the scenes was not harmonious with former sporting director Antero Henrique, who left the club in June.“I like the player and, I’ve said it many times, he was a key player when he was on the field for us,” the former Dortmund boss said in December to Canal+. “The club’s taken the decision and I have to respect it. I don’t like it, but I have to respect it.”Kylian Mbappe quote GFXEven Kylian Mbappe, Parisian born and bred, hinted when collecting his Ligue 1 Player of the Year prize that he may not be at the club for the foreseeable future.“I’ve reached a second turning point in my career,” he told the assembled dignitaries. “I’ve discovered a lot of things here and I feel that this is perhaps the moment to get more responsibility. I hope it will be at PSG – it would be with great pleasure – but it may be elsewhere for a new project.”With these games having been played out in a very public arena, it has done nothing to promote the Parisians as a working environment that is stable, happy or liable to achieve success at the very highest level – everything a professional should want beyond a sizeable pay packet.In re-appointing Leonardo, who resigned in 2013 in the aftermath of a scuffle with a referee, the club are already working to stop the bleeding. PSG made their greatest strides forward under the 1994 World Cup winner’s hand in the early part of the decade and have struggled to find comparable leadership on that front since.His return on July 1, though, has come about too late to allow the club to take positive steps forward this summer. Indeed, Leonardo’s goal for the coming season is to restore some respect and credibility to a project that appears to be creaking, rendering this summer nothing more than a damage-limitation exercise. That in itself shows how far PSG have sunk.last_img read more

Pack It Up With the 8 Best Duffle Bags

first_img The 12 Best Laptop Bags for Men Editors’ Recommendations The Mission Workshop Khyte Sets a New Standard for Messenger Bags 8 Sling Bags That Are More Than Just Man Bags The MNML Leather Highlander Travel Bag Makes Short-Term Trips a Breeze Every guy needs a quality duffle, plain and simple. It’s one of the most practical (and potentially stylish!) accessories a fella can own, and when used correctly, can transform a casual everyday look into a downright fashionable one. Not only that, the bags soft-sided nature allows you to cram in more clothing and sundries than you’d normally be able to in a hard-shelled case. So go ahead, smash that bag into the overhead compartment — it’ll be fine. Looking for a new duffle? Throw out the old high school gym bag and get ready for a serious upgrade.Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with some of our favorites below.GTX Duffle from Mack Weldon – $98Built with water-resistant wax canvas and a protective rubberized bottom, the GTX duffle from Mack Weldon is designed with durability in mind. Whether toted to the gym or thrown in the back of your truck for a quick weekend getaway, this bag is guaranteed to always be as functional as it is stylish. Its anti-odor literal silver lining ain’t half bad, either.Shop NowThe Twill Weekender from Everlane – $98Minimalists in the bunch might appreciate this duffle from Everlane, which cuts a stylishly clean line. Available in a wide array of different twill/leather combinations, this weekender is water-resistant, outfitted with a large interior, and designed to fit inside any overhead bin.Shop NowUnited By Blue Arc Duffle – $128With an impressive 55L volume, the Arc duffle from United by Blue is ideal for the guy who never wants to over pack, but always does. This huge space is complemented by a variety of exterior pockets as well as a crossbody strap, which makes maneuvering through TSA a breeze. And if that’s not enough to win you over, another big plus is that the bag’s built entirely of recycled polyester.Shop NowBaboon Go-Bag – $149Looking to liven up your bag collection? Then we suggest checking out the small go-bag from Baboon. Available in a wide array of vibrant colors, this duffle is perfect for the guy who wants to stand out in the crowd, and its roomy interior ensures that he’ll always have everything he needs right there with him. Bonus points for its multiple pockets and ergonomic shoulder strap.Shop NowFranklin Duffle from State – $195For something a little more casual, consider the Franklin duffle from State Bags. While still an attractive option, this bad boy is well-suited for a quick trip to the gym or a casual stay over at a pal’s place. A separate ventilated shoe pocket and super large main compartment make this a practical choice for guys with a bit more than your run-of-the-mill everyday essentials.Shop NowLeather Weekender from WP Standard – $350It just doesn’t get more classic than this old school take on the weekender from WP Standard. Here, it’s all about the small details — tasteful brass hardware and bespoke-style loops — that really set it apart from other bags on the market. While the traditional style isn’t going to work for everyone, gents with a vintage flair could find a lot to love in this travel accessory.Shop NowThe Getaway Duffle from Hook and Albert – $375The Getaway duffle from Hook and Albert is an elegant option for the guy with more refined tastes. A supple leather exterior makes for a sleek finish while a large compartment provides ample space for all of life’s essentials. Bring along on your next business trip and you’ll be sure to turn heads at the terminal gate.Shop NowLeather Wheeled Duffle from Korchmar – $660Travel in style with the Edison wheeled duffle from Korchmar. Complete with a full grain American pebbled leather exterior, solid brass hardware, and in-line ball bearing wheels for optimized mobility, this weekender is as stylish as it is practical. And though the price tag is a little hefty, this baby is sure to last for many adventures to come.Shop NowIf you’re looking for something a little more substantial when it comes to luggage – maybe something with wheels – check out our choices for the best carry on luggage for men. 7 Best Gym Bags to Haul All Your Workout Gearlast_img read more