PSG transfer window priorities: Mbappe could make Neymar outcast; Al-Khelaifi says ‘bling-bling’ era is over

PSG transfer window priorities: Mbappe could make Neymar outcast; Al-Khelaifi says ‘bling-bling’ era is over

Paris Saint-Germain is likely to be one of the busiest European clubs this summer with a new era being overseen by Luis Campos and Christopher Galtier after Kylian Mbappe extended his contract and Mauricio Pochettino was dismissed along with Leonardo. Nuno Mendes has already been secured on a permanent basis with Vitinha expected to follow from FC Porto and Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar as well as Lille OSC’s Renato Sanches and Stade de Reims’ Hugo Ekitike all of interest.

“The dream is one thing and reality is another,” Chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi told Le Parisien of this summer’s changes. “Perhaps we should change our slogan as ‘Dream Bigger’ is good, but we must be realistic above all else. We no longer want to be flashy and bling-bling — no more glitter. We have done great things for 11 years, but each year we ask ourselves how to be better.

“I can tell you that we expect all of the players to do more than last season — much more,” added the Qatari. “They must all be at 100%. Obviously, we were not good enough to go far. The objective for next season is clear and that is to go at 200% each day, give everything for the jersey, give the maximum and see the results. We must become humble again. You must be disciplined on and off the pitch and whoever wants to stay in their comfort zone and not fight will be cast aside. We want players proud to represent PSG and ready to fight.”

We break down PSG’s roster and look ahead to this summer.

PSG goalkeeper outlook
Staying: Gianluigi Donnarumma
Leaving: Alphonse Areola, Marcin Bulka and Alexandre Letellier
Uncertain: Keylor Navas and Sergio Rico
Loan option: Denis Franchi
If any club in Europe does not need another goalkeeper, it is PSG. With so many good quality options on the books, it is logical that this summer will be more about establishing a recognized hierarchy rather than bringing anyone else in. Whether it is Navas or Donnarumma, Galtier needs to pick a clear No. 1 choice and their backup must be happy to occupy that role. Rico has done it in the past, but neither the Costa Rican nor the Italian will be happy to time share once more.

Ideal move: Identifying a clear starting shot stopper, their backup and potentially setting clear expectations regarding game time. If that means moving several players on and bringing in a reserve goalkeeper who accepts that will be their role, so be it. However, between Navas and Donnarumma, there is already enough starting quality.

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PSG defense outlook
Staying: Marquinhos, Achraf Hakimi, Nuno Mendes
Leaving: Layvin Kurzawa and Colin Dagba
Uncertain: Presnel Kimpembe, Sergio Ramos, Thilo Kehrer, Abdou Diallo and Juan Bernat
Loan option: El Chadaille Bitshiabu
Market target: Milan Skriniar
Ideal move: In this position, only Marquinhos is truly guaranteed to stay in central defense while the right and left sides are two rare positions which should be set for next season at least in terms of their starters. A few peripheral figures could go from uncertain to leaving while Kimpembe should logically be kept on and Ramos’ experience and leadership could be considered vital by Galtier and Campos.

PSG midfield outlook
Staying: Marco Verratti
Leaving: Angel Di Maria and Rafinha
Uncertain: Leandro Paredes, Danilo Pereira, Georginio Wijnaldum, Ander Herrera, Julian Draxler, Idrissa Gueye, Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe and Pablo Sarabia
Loan options: Xavi Simons, Edouard Michut, Ismael Gharbi and Nathan Bitumazala
Market targets: Vitinha, Renato Sanches and Seko Fofana
This is the main area which requires Campos’ attention this summer. Early moves for Vitinha and Sanches could give the unit a new look, but a lot will depend on who ultimately gets moved with even Paredes not safe despite PSG adding an additional year to his deal via an option. Verratti being the only guaranteed figure to stay makes sense given that the team’s midfield often feels like the Italian on his own.

“Luis Campos will focus on the first team,” explained Al-Khelaifi. “We want to discover new talents and new markets. We have to explore new directions and find players who will be proud to be in Paris playing for the club and here only for soccer. We will create an advisory committee. It will be a council of five to seven high level figures in love with PSG. People with ideas who are ready to help with their experience.”

Ideal move: A purge of the dead wood in this position is a must with increased game time needed for many of the youngsters too. Once clearer, a midfield enforcer such as RC Lens’ Seko Fofana could appeal depending upon price.

Only Mbappe and Messi are really guaranteed to be part of PSG’s planning in attack moving forward into this coming season, but Neymar could change that given how difficult it will be to move him on and how a new mindset could turn him into something of a new signing. Icardi is being pushed towards the exit while Kalimuendo could be allowed to move on after impressing with Lens while Ekitike is being eyed.

“My goal for the coming years is to only have Parisian players in the team,” said Al-Khelaifi of French talent. “There is so much talent in our region. The best players in our region deserve to play for PSG. It will take time, but it is a goal. We want players who love the club, love to fight and love to win. We want this mentality to spread throughout the club.”

Ideal move: Some clarity regarding Neymar’s future and whether he can be counted upon is vital as he would transform how this attack appears. Planning for life after Messi beyond this season will be necessary and Mbappe is now the main player PSG will be building around. A versatile young attacker with high potential but already performing at a good level would make the most sense.

Sebastian Haller to Borussia Dortmund: Ajax striker will bring goals and much needed veteran presence to BVB
Haller’s career has taken him all over Europe, and that experience is exactly what Dortmund need
Chuck Booth

Borussia Dortmund have a tough job this summer. Not only are they moving to a new coach in Edin Terzić but they also have to replace their top forward, superstar Erling Haaland, after his move to Manchester City. His 22 league goals and seven assists aren’t something that a single player will likely come in and contribute, which is why Dortmund are continuing their summer of spending by adding Sebastian Haller from Ajax.

Personal terms are already agreed, and the reported deal for €35 million which is a slight increase from Dortmund’s official opening bid. It’s unknown if there are additional add-ons in the deal.

Done deal, completed. Borussia Dortmund are set to sign Sébastien Haller, €35m fee to Ajax and personal terms agreed. BVB are prepared for medical tests and paperworks to be signed. 🟡⚫️🤝 #BVB

Schlotterbeck, Sule, Adeyemi, Braaf, Ozcan and now Haller – huge window for BVB.

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) June 22, 2022
Once Haller passes his medical, this would be Dortmund’s seventh addition to the squad and their second forward signing, after Karim Adeyemi from Red Bull Salzburg. In his first full season with Ajax, Haller scored 21 goals assisting seven more in the Eredivisie but it was his Champions League numbers that really caught the eye. Haller made a run at the Champions League golden boot with 11 goals in only eight matches.

The strong seasons helped put a disappointing spell at West Ham, Haller’s stop before Ajax, behind him. For the Hammers, Haller had 48 appearances but only scored 10 goals, assisting one more. While Haller has had a good scoring record since debuting for Utrecht at 20 years old, the West Ham spell was enough to scare teams off until now. It shows that while there may be money in the Premier League, it’s not always for everyone.

In a market without many top strikers available it’s interesting that Dortmund were the only team publicly interested in Haller’s services, as the fee would’ve certainly been in a team like Bayen Munich’s range as Robert Lewandowski looks to push his way out. And it’s not like Haller is a stranger to scoring in Germany. In his time at Eintracht Frankfurt 0.48 goals per 90 minutes during his two seasons at Eintracht Frankfurt. If you’re keeping track at home Haller’s well travelled career has taken him from Auxerre in Ligue 2, to Utrecht to Frankfurt for two seasons then to West Ham for two, then Ajax for another two, and now to Dortmund. That’s a lot of stops for a guy who is still only 28 years old.

The hope is that at Dortmund he can raise his numbers closer to his Netherlands average of 0.59 goals per 90, but even if he doesn’t, it won’t take much for him to repay the fee that is reported.

Obviously they want the goals, but what does Haller bring to Dortmund?

An elder statesman
Dortmund already have Donyell Malen and Youssoufa Mokoko on the roster, so adding Adeyemi to the mix means the team has three keys to their attack under the age of 23. While this is a squad that’s used to youth leading the way, Haller’s experience can be important, especially as Dortmund look to avoid crashing out of Champions League play in the group stage for a second year in a row. Haller has experienced the pressure cooker of the Champions League and shined while doing it with Ajax, and he also has the experience of playing in the Europa League which helps.

With over 300 appearances in his career, there isn’t much that Haller hasn’t seen, and having also dealt with the struggles of West Ham, he can help the young forwards if they hit rough patches in the Bundesliga. While you can’t put a price on experience, it’s an important quality for building a team, especially for a coach like Terzić whose only experience as a manager was as the interim job during the 2020/21 season after Lucien Favre was let go.

Going route one
There aren’t many better around the world than Haller at bringing the ball down in the air while still offering a serious threat at goal. Averaging 3.52 aerial duels won per 90 minutes played, according to STATS Perform data, Haller can bring the ball down with ease but he’s also better with the ball at his feet than he gets credit for. Ajax may pass more than most teams but Haller created 13 chances in Champions League play which was third-best on the team. He may have only registered two assists from those chances, but you can imagine that changing with an attack as loaded as Dortmund’s.

To topple Bayern Munich, the Black and Yellow need to be almost perfect and an important part of that is having a plan B if their initial plan doesn’t work. Hoofing the ball to Haller in a pinch isn’t the worst backup plan if they can’t break down a defense on the ground.

Goals, goals, and more goals
At the end of the day, forwards who scored 30+ goals are hard to come by in the transfer market. Only taking into account league play, Haller was the 29th overall top scorer in Europe. There aren’t many chances when players like this can be secured for under €40 million so it makes sense to take a chance on Haller as even if things don’t work out, the sum of money is a drop in the bucket for a club like Dortmund that has made plenty of money selling off assets over the years.

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