PSG: Decisions, DecisionsBy: Brian | November 14th, 2009
Depending on how you want to look at it, either we’re Andre the Giant and the little guy represents the rest of Ligue 1, or we’re the little guy and Andre the Giant represents the top clubs of Europe. Deep, man.
What do you think? Which are we?
Since I’m trying to delay diving right into season 2 (I can be patient! I swear!), I thought I should give you a few more notes about how the 2009-2010 season went, in France and around the world.
Here’s the official French season wrap-up:
Artem Milevskyi won the Golden Boot:
The rest of Europe went pretty much as expected, save for one league:
That’s right, Spurs fans. You won the Premier League! Enjoy it while you can because this is probably the only way it’s going to happen anytime soon. Also: Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United finishing 5-6-7? Really? Thank God we made it into the Champions League. We can beat Everton (assuming they win their playoff). I would also like to thank Getafe and Espanyol for ridiculously over-performing. We really might have a shot at this thing.
We’ll probably get Group of Death-ed now that I’ve said that.
I should also add that Real Madrid spent €61.5m on 4 players in the January window, and it still bought them second place. Who’d they buy, you ask? Why, the all-star quartet of Brede Hangeland (€20.5m), Nani (€19m), Aaron Lennon (€17.5m), and Bruno Alves (a reasonable €14.5m). I’m as shocked as you are that they couldn’t dominate La Liga with additions like that.
Hot off the heels of our Ligue 1 title, it’s time for us to rebuild and reload. We’re going to need a stronger and deeper team to withstand challenges to our title and make a strong showing in Europe. After Marseille won the Champions League, I decided then and there that we could and should win it the next year. Realistic? No, not really. Possible? Certainly. It will take a little luck (ok, a lot of luck) and some shrewd signings on my part to do it. The board asked me what I expected of the team, and since we won the league last year I told them I expected us to win it again. Cha-ching. My transfer budget, before player sales, is €41m and I have €140,000 in wages to award.
First up was an extraordinarily cheap, probable replacement for vdV.
Sporting put Vukcevic up for sale for €1.3m and I snatched him up. Now, depending on how our other signings and sales go, he may end up out on loan. He’s not an EU player, which hurts, and realistically I have spots for 2 or 3 non-European players. But, aside from his teamwork and determination, he has a chance to be a really special player for us. But if he falters in the pre-season or can’t fit, he’s off to somewhere to learn how to play by the rules and maybe pass a citizenship test (or however it’s done in Europe).
I haven’t added anyone else, although I did try to sign David Luiz after Ajax put in a bid. Bordeaux made an offer as well, but in the end he chose Amsterdam. Damn kids, with their drugs and their rock ‘n roll. I have, however, found some more possibilities at goalkeeper and CB and am in the process of maybe unsettling them or at least befriending their manager, to see if I can get a discount (or, in the case of Akinfeev and Srna, an actual price). I have no idea who else to look at at RB. Speak up if you have any suggestions.
Memo Ochoa would cost me less than half of Akinfeev, but he’d want more in wages and is lacking European/African/exempt citizenship likeAkinfeev. They’re both rated 4 stars (by the same scout), and Akinfeev is also a little more than 6 months younger, for what that’s worth. Rubinho has Italian citizenship, and would cost roughly the same as Ochoa. Victor is the cheapest option, but, again, would be one of my foreign-born players.
At CB, I think my best option is Sébastien Bassong. He’s fast, he speaks French already, and PSG is one of his favorite clubs, which will give me an advantage. I have no idea why he’s interested in coming here, even if we are a favorite of his, but I won’t complain. I think he’s a definite buy. Gonzalo Rodriguez is another option at roughly the same price. I would only get one of the two, as I still want to regularly play Sakho and watch him develop into one of the best defenders in the world. A cheaper 3rd/4th option (by cheaper I mean €5m tops, rather than €16-20m) would be Ezequiel Garay, but he may be lacking the… juevos, let’s say, to feature regularly and survive in my system. He spent part of last season on loan at Celtic. For a little less than Rodriguez or Bassong I could get Breno, but he would want a high wage and, unlike the others, he would be a foreign player.
For friendlies, I’ve scheduled tours of the United States and Japan. Obviously I’m hoping to get a financial partner out of one of these trips, but if we are to somehow become one of the world’s biggest teams, we need that sort of exposure. We’ll also be visiting Porto, and I may add one more against a higher-profile team. The Bastille Day Cup is on hold until next year, as the Parc des Princes is needed for the 2010 U-19 Euros. So we’ll wait. If I’m lucky, our choices will be similar or lower reputation teams. I’m a dreamer.
I’ll definitely keep you updated on the World Cup. I’m also considering taking an international job, depending on who gets the boot after a poor showing in South Africa (I’m looking at you, Domenech).
Suggestions, as always, are welcome.