Paris—Despite its repeated failure to goes beyond the
quarterfinals of the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain has not lost its
power of attraction.
Subsidized with nearly unlimited funds provided by Qatari
investors and with their UEFA Financial Fair Play restrictions eased, the
French champions have strengthened their squad with the recruitment of three
new players, including the expected signing of Argentine winger Angel Di Maria.
The recruits add depth and skill to a squad that completed a
domestic treble last season and again looks set to continue its domination on
the national stage. The new season has not even kicked off but PSG has already
reasserted its sovereignty over Lyon — its closest rival last season — with a
2-0 win in the Trophee des Champions.
Last season, Laurent Blanc's team was in a class of its own
domestically despite some hiccups at the turn of the year. But the team showed
its limits in the Champions League, losing 5-1 on aggregate to Barcelona in the
quarterfinals. Being the best team in France this season won't be enough as PSG
now looks to dominate in Europe with its star-studded team.
Also read: Di Maria ‘delighted’ with PSG move
"Of course (Di Maria) will help us in the Champions
League, it's the title we want to win and we never won it. It's our objective
and our dream too," said winger Lucas Moura. "We are going to work
hard this season to win this title and I really think we can do it."
Here are five things to know about the French league ahead
of this week's first round of matches.
PSG'S ASTUTE MOVES
Not only has PSG been able to keep his best players, it
added stability and firepower to a lineup already featuring some of football's
PSG, which starts the defense of its title on Friday with a
trip to Lille, has made an astute buy with the transfer of goalkeeper Kevin
Trapp, who arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt and will likely get the No. 1 spot
ahead of Salvatore Sirigu.
The club also compensated for Yohan Cabaye's departure with
the arrival of versatile midfielder Benjamin Stambouli.
Di Maria, whose signing was expected to completed on
Wednesday, should bring pace on the left flank of the Parisian attack in an
exciting partnership with Argentine teammate Javier Pastore.
IBRAHIMOVIC'S FINAL YEAR
Deposed by Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette at the top of
the scoring chart last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has just one year left on his
contract with PSG.
The league's most colorful player, Ibrahimovic has endured a
difficult season marred by injuries and controversy off the pitch. Before a
possible move to Major League Soccer when his contract expires next summer, the
tall Swede wants to finish with a bang after what he described as an
"We could do much more than what we did and hopefully
this year we will do less mistakes than what we did and normally we should win,
without doubts," said Ibrahimovic, who scored 75 league goals in three
Ibrahimovic will miss Friday's season opener because of a
Year after year, the French league is bidding farewell to a
large contingent of young players heading to the Premier League.
While highlighting the quality of the training provided in
France, the continuous exodus painfully underlines the lack of economic power
of French clubs.
Among the dozen of players who already crossed the Channel
during the transfer window is promising Caen midfielder N'Golo Kante, who
joined Leicester on a four-year deal.
"I would have been pleased to see him continue his
career in France," said Caen president Jean-Francois Fortin. "But for
economic reasons it's not possible. French clubs obviously don't have the same
financial means as their English counterparts."
Among other players who left the Ligue 1 this summer for
England are Ghana striker Jordan Ayew and Saint-Etienne midfielder Franck
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