PSG: First Friendly, Financial ShenanigansBy: Brian | November 7th, 2009
I kicked out most of the existing staff, handing them their (very generous) buyouts and assuring them that there were no hard feelings. I’m not sure how the French press works, but they hadn’t caught wind of what had happened before my first press conference.
The press conference went fine. But that ubiquitous first question, the “how do you feel about the opportunity to manage here?” question, should be addressed now. My favorite team is Liverpool (rub it in), and if they come calling I don’t know if I can resist. So I’ll make a deal with you: I won’t leave PSG unless I’m fired or we’ve won the Champions League, and even then I won’t actively search for a new job. Cool?
Anyway, I’ve rebuilt the scouting and coaching staff, and it was a bit difficult because I had to rely entirely on the unemployed or those employed by national teams. I couldn’t afford to pay exorbitant fees for staff members and have enough left for players.
As for the players… oh my. I sold Bourillon to Le Mans for €3.5m, Baning to Nantes for €1.6m, and Jean-Eudes Maurice has gone to the greener pastures of Derby for a whopping €650k, making my total haul €5.75m.
But the players I’ve signed are the real news. Yell at me all you want for being cavalier with the finances, but PSG has no loan debt, so I spread most of these transfer fees out over 4 years. I know, I know! But even after adjusting the wage/transfer budgets to give me a €5m kitty, and with the player sales, I didn’t have enough to make any impact signings that might end our historical inconsistencies. Things could bite me in the ass if we don’t qualify for Europe this season, but I think these new signings can lead us there. I did miss out on a left-back, as Cristian Ansaldi (the one cost-effective option), chose Bayern Munich and Champions league games over us, but otherwise I’m very pleased with our additions thus far.
I added some youth and depth at the back with Vasco’s Mateus for €1m, Rafael Tolói for €6.75m, and Nicolás Otamendi for €5.75m. Armand will still partner at the back with Sakho for now, although Camara will eventually challenge Armand once he’s healthy.
Keko and Koke (I don’t care what you tell me, I’ve decided they’re twins) were brought over from Atletico Madrid (for free). I plan on giving them their own kids’ show. Jano Ananidze will be joining us at the start of the January window in 2011. He’ll be receiving some quality first team experience with Spartak Moscow until then.
The big two signings are the critical ones, though. Remember how I said I wanted a skilled dead-ball guy? Rafael van der Vaart has joined PSG on loan. It took a €1.5m initial fee and half of his wages to get him, but he will be well worth it. There’s an €8m purchase clause, but I don’t plan on exercising that until I’m sure we’re going to be competing in Europe. I also made a €10m purchase, and I believe he is easily our best player right now. I am VERY proud to welcome Artem Milevskyi from Dinamo Kiev, and I agreed with the journalist who called this signing a major coup. Look at him! He’s like a poor man’s Ibrahimovic, but with heart. I expect big, big things from Artem.
And He (capitalization intentional) delivered in our first friendly, away to Club Brugge. He headed in a beautiful Jallet cross in the first minute, and 9 minutes later burst through the defense to get on the end of vdV’s through ball and fire past their hapless keeper. The rest of the friendly was less than stellar though. I need to sort out the defensive tactics, as they scored twice against the first team, both times on plays where the CB was too eager to close down the man with the ball, leaving a Brugge player onside and with a clear path towards the goal. They gave us another goal after a freak ricochet rocketed back into the net, and the first half ended with us up one. Since it’s a friendly, and I wanted to see our new signings in action, I subbed out the entire squad at the half. Mateus scored from the penalty spot to make it 4-2, and that’s how it ended. I was very pleased with the way Tolói and Otamendi did their jobs. I know it’s one game, but Armand might have to supplant Ceará at left-back or move to the bench sooner than I thought.
I’m still waiting to see if Sporting CP’s Adrien and Sevilla’s Arouna Kone wish to join us on this glorious adventure. If I’ve calculated our finances correctly, I should have enough funds left to complete my last two “win now” moves: Ruud van Nistelrooy and Patrick Viera on season-long loans. Not good moves for our short-term wage budget, but I have no intention of purchasing them.
Peon Update: He wore a light blue tie to work today. I taught him many new English curses and insults.