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

India vs Afghanistan World Cup 2019: Why Rashid Khan, Nabi and Mujeeb face stern test vs India

first_imgIndia vs Afghanistan World Cup 2019: Why Rashid Khan, Nabi and Mujeeb face stern test vs IndiaWorld Cup 2019: India’s batsmen have been dominant so far in the 2019 Cricket World Cup against spinners. Against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, India have not lost a single wicket to spinadvertisement Next Ajay Tiwari SouthamptonJune 21, 2019UPDATED: June 21, 2019 18:57 IST India and Afghanistan will clash on June 22 in Southampton in only their 3rd meeting ever in ODIs (Reuters)HIGHLIGHTSIndia and Afghanistan will clash on June 22 in SouthamptonIndia haven’t lost a single wicket to spin in World Cup 2019Afghanistan’s spinners have proved ineffective in the tournament which is a real worry for the sideAs far as match-ups go, India vs Afghanistan promises to be as ill-matched as David vs Goliath, but when the teams meet in Southampton on Saturday, it seems highly unlikely that the result will follow it’s biblical corollary. The magnitude of the gulf between the 2 sides in the ongoing World Cup 2019 can be gauged from the fact that while India are yet unbeaten in the tournament after 4 games, Afghanistan are still waiting for their 1st victory and the way they were brushed aside by Eoin Morgan’s England in their last match, it seems the wait is poised to get even longer.India are yet to lose a wicket to spin in World Cup 2019. Oppositions have so far bowled a total of 53 overs of spin to the Indian batsmen without getting a single wicket while leaking 339 runs. That’s an economy of 6.39!During India’s World Cup opener against South Africa, Imran Tahir and Tabraiz Shamsi bowled 10 and 9 overs respectively while going away for 112 runs in total. Australia, who possess a pace-heavy attack, still used Adam Zampa and Glenn Maxwell for a combined 13 overs but the duo was treated with disdain by the Indian batsmen as they plundered 95 runs off the spinners. Pakistan, possibly not taking a cue from India’s outing against Australia, unleashed 4 spinners (Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez) at Old Trafford, but there was no letup from the Indians as they refused to give a single wicket to their spinners.All this is not good news for their opponents on Saturday. Afghanistan arrived for the World Cup 2019, banking heavily on their troika of spinners – Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mujeeb ur Rahman. The trio had proven to be match-winners in the past, including in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and for Afghanistan, they remained key to whatever success they thought of achieving at the tournament.advertisementHowever, the story of these spinners has mirrored their team’s fortunes at the ongoing World Cup. Their spearhead Rashid has gone wicket-less in the past 2 matches against England and South Africa since he couldn’t bowl after being hit in the head while batting against New Zealand. In 16 overs since that blow, Rashid has been punished for 155 runs, with Morgan alone heaving him for 7 sixes! Before that Taunton game, Rashid had managed to pick 3 wickets against Sri Lanka and Australia.Rashid’s teammate Nabi, shone bright against Sri Lanka with 4 spectacular wickets with his off-spin but he too has failed to make a bigger impact in the rest of the games. Mujeeb has only played 3 games till now but only managed to get a solitary wicket so far. Clearly, one of Afghanistan’s biggest strengths has turned into their Achilles heel. Combine this with India’s record against spin in this World Cup, and Afghanistan have got a few headaches ahead of their clash on Saturday.If things go India’s way, the agony for Afghanistan from their outing against England in their last match could seem like it was in the distant past.Also Read | Told my mom about World Cup call-up, she went straight to the temple: Rishabh PantAlso Read | World Cup 2019: People forget 10 good days and conveniently remember one bad outing, says Rashid KhanFor sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAjay Tiwari Tags :Follow World Cup 2019Follow India vs AfghanistanFollow Rashid KhanFollow Mohammad Nabilast_img read more