After Leonardo’s second term which was a failure, Paris Saint-Germain is looking to give new impetus to his team. The Brazilian leader was fired and, to replace him, the capital club turned to Luis Campos. The Portuguese, recognized in the community for his successes in Portugal but also in France, in Monaco then in Lille, arrives with a solid reputation at PSG. However, after yet another hiccup in the Champions League against Real Madrid last March, the task promises to be colossal for the Parisian neo-leader.
Between a workforce to be degreased, young people to integrate and the cases of Messi / Neymar, Luis Campos has his work cut out for him. But the main file remains that of the coach. Still under contract for a year, Mauricio Pochettino is still there. Despite many avenues explored, including that of Christophe Galtier, the coach of OGC Nice, or Sergio Conceição of Porto, the vagueness around the Parisian bench for next season persists.
Even if PSG has in its ranks a seven-time Ballon d’Or like Lionel Messi and a world star like Neymar, the key player in this team is Kylian Mbappé. With 39 goals and 26 assists this season in Parisian colours, he confirmed week after week that he was taking on another dimension. Master of the clocks when deciding on his future, the 2018 world champion has decided to extend the adventure, with the wish to finally go to the end in the Champions League. Keeping Mbappé is obviously great news, but Luis Campos will have to work to build a coherent team by his side.
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The midfield file is the perfect example. Behind the untouchable Marco Verratti, the other players have not confirmed. Wijnaldum, Herrera, Gueye, Paredes or even Danilo Pereira are not irreplaceable. If Aurélien Tchouaméni should not follow up on Parisian approaches by favoring Real, Luis Campos is looking into other profiles, particularly in Ligue 1. The names of Seko Fofana (RC Lens) and Lovro Majer (Stade Rennes) would be on the list of the Portuguese recruiter, who has often had a hollow nose during his previous experiences in France. On the attacking front, Angel Di Maria left. Pablo Sarabia and Arnaud Kalimuendo have returned. The name of Rafael Leão has been mentioned, but AC Milan would require a colossal sum to let go of their Portuguese jewel.
Where Leonardo has never been able to lighten the Parisian workforce of its dead weight, Luis Campos should be supported by a former member of the house. Antero Henrique, sporting director from 2017 to 2019, should return to PSG to take care of sales. With XXL salaries and unlimited comfort, some players just don’t want to leave when their playing time has been drastically reduced. It’s hard not to think of Layvin Kurzawa, extended at a golden price two years ago and who hasn’t played a minute in Ligue 1 this season. For his part, Mauro Icardi has been talked about more for his escapades worthy of reality TV with his wife, than for his performance on the ground.
After several productive years training Coman, Kimpembe, Rabiot, Areola, Diaby and Nkunku, the lift between the academy and the first team has almost come to a halt at PSG. Despite many talents within the U19s coached by Zoumana Camara, ties with young Parisians have weakened. Édouard Michut and Xavi Simons are the perfect example. Both midfielders had a few minutes to eat, especially in the Coupe de France. They are paying the price for a workforce that is far too full in the midfield. It remains to be seen whether the new leaders will be able to move the lines, because other big talents of the Parisian formation are maturing. We think in particular of Warren Zaire-Emery, recent winner of the Euro U17, and promised to a very bright future. Talent scout Luis Campos will also be able to get them off the ground?